Improving lives through invention

National Inventors’ Day: Recognizing the Economic Impact of Invention

Three new reports underscore why supporting a robust invention ecosystem is critical for economic resilience and creating the industries of the future.

For the last 25 years, The Lemelson Foundation has focused on supporting invention as a catalyst for fueling economies and improving lives. Now, as a new administration is setting its agenda for economic recovery, growth and global competitiveness, inventors are more important than ever.

On this National Inventor’s Day, Foundation Executive Director Carol Dahl presents an argument for economic resilience and more inclusive prosperity through greater support for inventors and invention.  In an article published on Invention Notebook, Dahl showcases data and research from three new reports on reinvigorating support for the invention ecosystem:

Measuring the Value of Invention: This RAND report documents the significant social and economic impact realized by invention through the lens of the Lemelson-MIT (LMIT) Prize winners. The cohort of 26 Prize winners represents ground-breaking work in sectors such as health, information technology and energy. The research findings underscore that while inventors develop solutions to pressing problems, their work is also a catalyst for new businesses that deliver those solutions, providing high-quality jobs, spurring economic growth and seeding entirely new industries.

Competing in the Next Economy: A call-to-action published by The Council on Competitiveness, authored by their “Commission on Innovation & Competitiveness Frontiers,” the report urges the U.S. to up its innovation game tenfold to be able to compete globally. Key recommendations to policy makers focus on stimulating invention and associated innovation, including ensuring that every student has the opportunity to experience invention and innovation throughout Pre-K-12 and higher education. Multiple recommendations also target greater support for inventors as they launch new companies, including from government, universities, national labs and the private sector. In the report, the Commission also advocates for creating a unified vision for U.S. competitiveness at the Federal Government and state levels, ultimately driven by the principles of inclusivity and environmental sustainability.

The Invention Ecosystem: A Pathway to Economic Resilience and Inclusive Prosperity: Published by the Day One Project, this report is intended to provide a framework for the invention ecosystem, highlighting the integration of two pathways: The Inventor Pathway inspires and prepares students to solve crucial problems and thrive in the innovation economy, and the Innovation Pathway supports inventors and entrepreneurs so that they can create value from their ideas in the form of products and businesses. Supported by the key pillars of K-12 Education, Higher Education, Entrepreneurship and Industry, these pathways can yield a diverse and powerful pipeline of people and businesses that create jobs, foster resilient economies and tackle the world’s big challenges.

To read more from Carol Dahl and other articles from The Lemelson Foundation, visit the Foundation’s Medium Channel, Invention Notebook.

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