Principles for American Innovation
This policy agenda seeks to ensure that the United States is the global leader for innovation across all sectors of the economy, creating high-quality jobs for generations into the future.
Policymakers must focus on strengthening all components of the national innovation system, including people, institutions, rules and technology. America’s approach to protecting its leadership in innovation should be guided by the following five principles:
1. Invest in People.
America needs to build a diverse, modern and world-class workforce for innovation across all sectors of the economy. The country should have the best education system and the most skilled workforce globally. Over the next decade, the United States needs to significantly reduce the shortage of highly skilled workers. The United States should have an education system that fully unlocks the potential of its human capital and boosts its rank in science and math education to the elite, top-ten level.
2. Make strategic, long-term investments in science and technology.
America needs to strengthen foundational research, make strategic investments in science and technology, and deploy digital infrastructure to sustain dominance in underlying technology such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing, advanced robotics, aerospace and advanced medicine.
The ripple effects of strategic, long-term investment in science and technology are pervasive. The country needs a national innovation strategy to pursue ambitious, exploratory and ground-breaking projects to solve the toughest challenges in fields as varied as health, energy, transportation, education and national security.
3. Remove roadblocks to innovation.
The United States is the top global destination for developing and bringing to market innovative technologies and processes because of its market-based economy and culture of entrepreneurship and risk-taking. Unfortunately, outdated regulation threatens U.S. competitiveness. Regulation must be agile and light-touch as well as clear, precise and enforceable to accommodate a rapidly changing technology landscape. At the same time, regulation must be predictable to avoid creating uncertainty and undermining the investment environment.
The United States needs to create a regulatory environment that enables and supports innovation. The United States should consistently attain a top ranking for its regulatory transparency and flexibility, preserving its status as the top global destination for innovation.
4. Position America to compete and thrive worldwide.
The country that wins the innovation race wins the future. Other countries are challenging U.S. leadership in innovation in the competition to secure capital and talent, bring new products and services to market, set technology standards, and dominate strategic technologies. The country must understand the scope of their efforts and respond to their actions while promoting market access for U.S. innovations as well as rules to protect those innovations and investments.
5. Pursue inclusive innovation.
America cannot continue to be a country where a few groups prosper while many others experience economic uncertainty. Innovation activity in the United States needs to be pursued inclusively and its benefits shared broadly across diverse groups and communities throughout society. Innovation needs to provide access to quality goods and services for all socioeconomic and demographic groups.
The following pages outline the Business Roundtable perspective on what must be done to ensure that the United States remains the global leader for innovation for generations to come. The recommendations are organized into the five policy areas presented above with specific policy recommendations for a national innovation policy agenda.