What do General Motors, Intel, 3M, Johnson & Johnson, Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter have in common? Beside being textbook American success stories, they are all torchbearers of true, groundbreaking innovation – whether it’s technology, supply chain, business model or any combination of those. But more than that, they are all legitimate creators of new industries.
Yet when you look at the relative contribution of these companies to U.S. GDP, to U.S. employment numbers – and, especially, to perceived innovation – stark differences arise. The last three are surely the perceived leaders of innovation today and garner much more coverage from the popular media . But they are laggards when it comes to meaningful employment generation and fueling large-scale economic growth. And it’s those two factors that are critical for stimulating our economy and getting us on a path toward a more economically stable future.
I believe Silicon Valley needs to jump in and extend its innovative spirit in sectors that impact large portions of our economy and are critical to getting us out of the recession. More specifically, it needs to foster a breeding ground for white space innovation. That means ones involved in large markets; that there is differentiation based on fundamental innovation; and there is potential to reinvent established industries – or also creating new ones.
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