Date: Jan 22, 2013 10:08 PM
Author: GS Chandy
Subject: Re: "Building an Innovation-Based Economy" (Brookings Institution<br> Study)

Further my message of Jan 23, 2013 1:18 AM, on the Brookings Institution Study "Smart Policy: Building an Innovation-Based Economy", the following issues obviously have to be addressed, based on the recommendations made in the Study:
> 1. We [i.e., specifically YOU, the USA - as opposed
> to "WE - the whole wide world", though the world's
> not necessarily excluded; read appropriately in
> future - GSC's comment] we need better metrics for
> measuring worker productivity in the 21st century
> economy. Past approaches based on worker hours or
> total employees in relation to Gross Domestic Product
> (GDP) ignore the transformational nature of digital
> technology.

We surely do need better 'metrics for measuring productivity' - but the Brookings study doesn't go anywhere near far enough.

One part of the issue is: just HOW to develop the better metrics for measuring 'worker productivity' in the 21st century economy? (See below).

The other, perhaps more difficult part: I observe that it will not be enough at all to measure just 'worker productivity'. If the USA (indeed the world) is to resolve the great many dire issues it confronts, it will need to measure, each in its own appropriate way, the productivity AND effectiveness of each section of society (and then learn to improve them).

We shall need to understand what really constitutes the 'productivity' of an informed and aware populace, from 'workers' to 'intellectuals' to 'politicians', 'commentators', 'students', 'teachers', others. We need to begin to understand what really it means to 'live' in and with this planet, as opposed to being a cancer on it (which is our main role today).

HOW to do all of that, in practice, on the ground?

It should be entirely clear by now that just shouting "PUT THE EDUCATION MAFIA IN JAIL!" (or any other kind of mafia) will by no means be sufficient - regardless how stridently the shouting is done. In fact, this kind of stuff is just energy and effort 'down the drain', so to speak.
> 2. We should encourage entrepreneurship by expanding
> Small Business Administration credit for start ups,
> adding entrepreneurial skills to school curricula,
> and making changes in immigration policy that encourage
> entrepreneurs to come to America.

Well, YES and NO: Surely entrepreneurial skills have to be improved EVERYWHERE! It will by no means be sufficient to encourage the world's entrepreneurs to come to the USA. There IS in fact plenty of enterprise that is needed in each country in the world - most of which is scarcely being done.


So just HOW to ensure that this will happen, in practice, on the ground? THAT is the great 'innovation issue' of our 21st Century!
> 3. We need governments that learn to innovate and
> collaborate, and develop new approaches to service
> delivery, transparency, and participation. This
> includes placing more data online and employing data
> analytical tools, social media, mobile technology,
> and search results that improve decision-making.

An unqualified "YES" to all of that.

But HOW?

It is one thing to call for "new approaches to service delivery, transparency and participation". It is quite another to ensure it happens, in practice on the ground. Does the Brookings Institution have any ideas of just HOW this will be accomplished? If it does, the Study Report makes no mention of it.
> 4. We should strengthen infrastructure by investing
> in broadband, data centers, and mobile cell towers, and
> improving access to spectrum for wireless
> applications.

All of the above will be useful indeed. But HOW to ensure it happens?
> 5. We should protect vital digital assets by updating
> the Federal Information Security Management Act and
> developing procedures for monitoring threats to
> critical infrastructure.

Well, yes indeed. Go thou and work out HOW to get this done - and you'll have done a very fine thing indeed!
> 6. We need to improve knowledge transmission through
> faster adoption of digital textbooks, more widespread
> use of creative commons licenses for instructional
> materials developed with taxpayer dollars, and policy
> changes that speed education innovation.

Well, fine. HOW?
> 7. We need to increase technology transfer and the
> commercialization of knowledge from universities and
> federal laboratories so that public and private
> investments translate into jobs and economic activity
> as well as better health, security, and well-being.

Just HOW?
> 8. We should harmonize cross-border laws to promote
> global innovation and freedom of expression.

Indeed. I'd suggest that just working out HOW to promote "innovation and freedom of expression" for the Palestinians, say, for a start, would make for a VERY good beginning!

If one wishes to take on something more ambitious, do that for the Kashmiris too, who are caught up in the power struggle of two wannabe world powers, Pakistan and India. And so on, around the world...

And as the HOWs of some of all that are satisfactorily worked out, we can surely think of 'going global'...

("Just Shoveling!")