Learning policy from other countries

Ross DeVol from the Milken Institute has a piece in the Atlantic’s Secrets of Innovation special report on The 8 Best Innovation Ideas From Around the World. This are:
 • Singapore’s education and human capital policies
 • Canada’s high-skill immigration policies
 • Finland’s R&D policies
 • Switzerland’s tax policies
 • Israel and Germany’s small business growth policies
 • Great Britain’s technology transfer and commercialization policies
 • South Korea’s business support policies
And as DeVol points out, there are surely others we could come up with. Now, I have to say I might not agree that all the policies from other nation’s would be either appropriate or effective in the U.S. circumstance. Not is it clear that we could simple package this group of policies together in a coherent fashion. For example, I don’t know if the Swiss tax system could support the Finnish R&D spending policy or Singapore’s education system.
But are regular readers of this blog know, I consistently argue for looking at the innovation policies of others and adopting them as appropriate. In that regard, I completely agree with DeVol’s bottom line: “If the U.S. can reformulate a group of strategies similar to those on this list, it could catapult itself to renewed preeminence in global innovation.”
The problem, as he also points out, such an innovation strategy would require consensus visionary leadership. And regardless of what you think about our leaders’ vision or lack there of, it is clear there is no consensus on a direction. To the extent we remain divided we will also be rudderless.
I recognize that the U.S. has always had its internal differences over policy. A 60% win by a President is considered a landslide and a mandate (no President has gotten more that 61.1% of the popular vote). But we now have a political system that rewards blocking action rather action.
Maybe we can forge consensus around some of these items. One example might be the recent bipartisan bill by Senator Coons and Rubio — which includes a few of the elements listed above (see earlier posting). So, lets look at the list and see what we can accomplish – a step at a time.

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