The National Academies (the National Academy of Science, National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine) has a new report out — Innovation in Global Industries: U.S. Firms Competing in a New World (Collected Studies):
The debate over offshoring of production, transfer of technological capabilities, and potential loss of U.S. competitiveness is a long-running one. Prevailing thinking is that the world is flat that is, innovative capacity is spreading uniformly; as new centers of manufacturing emerge, research and development and new product development follow.
Innovation in Global Industries challenges this thinking. The book, a collection of individually authored studies, examines in detail structural changes in the innovation process in 10 service as well as manufacturing industries: personal computers; semiconductors; flat-panel displays; software; lighting; biotechnology; pharmaceuticals; financial services; logistics; and venture capital. There is no doubt that overall there has been an acceleration in global sourcing of innovation and an emergence of new locations of research capacity and advanced technical skills, but the patterns are highly variable. Many industries and some firms in nearly all industries retain leading-edge capacity in the United States. However, the book concludes that is no reason for complacency about the future outlook. Innovation deserves more emphasis in firm performance measures and more sustained support in public policy.