Monday, August 25, 2008

Day 1 Impressions: Innovation & US Economy

Today was a bit of insanity. There were thousands and thousands of people going here and there very importantly. There were famous faces. There were faces that seemed important, or least that is how they looked. And there was security. Lots of security.

Amongst the meeting journalists, bloggers and the multitude of DNCC staffers who hand and take away tickets, lanyards and passes, I did manage to take in the New Democrat Coalition's Forum on Competitiveness & Innovation. It was a large panel that was dominated by Big Pharma - Eli Lili, Pfizer, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Medco Health Solutions and Amgen and a smattering of Congress representatives. Also the CEO of Best Buy...very odd. Of course the striking thing is that there was not one person from technology, nor Silicon Valley. Two big guns from Google's government relations where there, I wander what they thought about it.

However, there were some interesting thinking being laid out everyonce in awhile.

  • We Don't Invest Enough in R&D - The ratio between R&D and the US GDP has not changed since 1992.
  • Everyone Should Know What is IP - The panel felt that US citizens should be aware of the importance of intellectual property...well that might be a stretch considering they are more aware of losing their homes and their jobs. Which leads us to WalMart, the place where half of America gets conditioned to goods that are copies of styles of other people's R&D.
  • To the WTO! - A number of Congress folks wanted us to march to the WTO more often to take the bad guys, China I am going to assume, to task.
  • Please Don't Go, Just When We Started to Like You - most of the CEOs were concerned that our visa and asylum systems were pretty terrible in keeping talent in the country. Interestingly it was "All Quiet on the Western Front" with the Congress folks on the panel...
So, what does this have to do with public purpose media? I want to think more about it, but for many it seems like we are looking at the wrong industries to get the innovation that truly challenges us.

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