How can America gain back the power it once held over the international economy? In the past, our manufacturing capacity dwarfed that of other nations. Today, there are simply too many sources of cheap, expendable labor to compete with. As industrializing economies such as China and Vietnam grow and prosper, we have to ask, what can be done? What areas of industry should we be investing in? If the answer isn’t manufacturing capability, what is?
Innovation. It’s one of America’s major assets, and President Obama is wise to recognize this. Our culture fosters individuality and creativity. That individuality and creativity needs to be nurtured and supported, applied to solving problems and inventing new products. Our culture, for better or for worse, is also a consumer one. There’s a constant demand for the new and the different and the better. We need to combine these two dynamic elements of American culture. Many presidents before Obama have failed to fully understand and harness this power. I believe he may be the one to do it.
Innovation has the power to create new jobs as well as new products. Manufacturing is not a unique task: with the right technology and machinery, any individual or country can do it. Many processes have been perfected and streamlined. There isn’t nearly enough room for improvement or difference. So difference must be cultivated elsewhere. And that elsewhere is going to come from innovation.
Being innovative means being irreplaceable. As more and more jobs are being outsourced to foreign countries, the quality of being irreplaceable seems more important than ever.
Stephen Key is a successful award-winning inventor who has licensed over 20 products in the past 30 years. Along with business partner Andrew Krauss, Stephen runs inventRight, a company dedicated to educating inventors about selling their ideas and the skills needed to succeed. You can listen to the weekly radio show on inventing. Get In The News, list your invention to have media outlets find you for news stories.