InformationWeek Analytics New Research Finds 68% of Business Technology Professionals Believe the United States Has Lost Its Position as a Global IT Innovation Leader
The top three reasons cited are offshore job movement, failure in education and national policy-making.
Aug 25, 2010
InformationWeek Analytics, the leading service for peer-based IT research and analysis, today announced the release of its "Research: Innovation Mandate" report. Nearly 625 business technology professionals weigh in on whether the nation is losing its position as global IT innovation leader. Report author Rob Preston, VP/editor in chief of InformationWeek, oversees the editorial direction of the world's leading business technology media brand.
For the better part of a decade, executives, economists, policy-makers, researchers, and other so-called experts have lamented the inexorable decline of the U.S. IT industry and the country's standing as the global technology leader. Reports with ominous titles have questioned whether U.S.-based IT vendors and the organizations they sell to have the technical chops, national backing and requisite will to out-innovate their counterparts in other countries.
While InformationWeek's editors can relate to the sense of national urgency, especially as the U.S. limps out of the worst recession in 30 years, they remain bullish. Most of the profound IT-based innovations of the past decade came from--and continue to come from--the U.S., not from Asia or Europe. But myriad commercial, economic, political, cultural, and other challenges are evident.
In this report, we explore why some of the industry's leading lights, as well as many survey respondents, think that U.S. tech competitiveness is in trouble. Some of their key concerns:
-- The offshoring of technology jobs to India and other countries is discouraging young Americans from pursuing tech careers and shipping innovation abroad. Among the 427 survey respondents who think the U.S. is losing or has lost its technology leadership position, 66%--the single highest percentage--cited offshore job movement as one of the top three reasons. -- The U.S. education system isn't adequately preparing young students in the so-called STEM subjects--science, technology, engineering, and math--and U.S. companies aren't giving their employees sufficient technical training. Some 58% of respondents who think the U.S. is losing or has lost its technology leadership position cited a failure in education as a main reason. Most of the industry experts we interviewed agree. -- The U.S., unlike Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Sweden, Finland, and several other countries, hasn't had a cohesive national policy in technology areas such as mobile payments, intelligent electricity grids and transportation systems, green computing, and (until recently) broadband and electronic health records. Some 30% said they worry about a lack of technology leadership at the U.S. national policy-making level. -- The U.S. government and U.S.-based companies don't spend enough on tech-based R&D and long-term innovation. Some 25% think "lack of leadership at the tech CEO level," including R&D investment, is a main reason for eroding U.S. tech competitiveness.
"Some of the survey respondents we interviewed for this groundbreaking report are concerned that Silicon Valley could become the next Detroit, with tech companies so entrenched in their traditional ways of doing business, and so overwhelmed by compliancy concerns and related issues, that they might just succumb to the pressure," says Lorna Garey, content director of InformationWeek Analytics. "We don't believe things are anywhere near that extreme--there's still a tremendous amount of innovation coming out of the United States--but we need to pump up the volume."
The U.S. government needs to test and benchmark students in K-12 against their peers in other countries, double R&D funding for tech-intensive agencies, and generally improve the environment for tech innovation by reducing corporate taxes, healthcare costs and regulations, according to former Intel chairman Craig Barrett, co-author of a series of recommendations on how the U.S. can maintain its global leadership role in tech innovation. "We have our priorities a little bit wrong," Barrett told InformationWeek Analytics when interviewed for the "Research: Innovation Mandate" report. "This is not a Republican or Democrat issue--it's the longstanding Washington, D.C., image that you don't make any investments beyond a two-year cycle because you don't get any return on investments for the next election cycle."
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