Innovation Nation

A research firm released an “innovation heat map” last week – using a variety of factors to identify where new and exciting advances were taking place across several industries. Not surprisingly, Silicon Valley was the most innovative area of the United States. But somewhat troubling is they way innovation is tanking in some of our major cities: Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Chicago, and other industrial cities are simply not keeping up with the times.

Washington, D.C., with its culture of federal government and bureaucracy, isn’t even on the radar for this – which is no surprise, and which is probably a big reason why the tech team that funtioned so freely and successfully on the Obama campaign is meeting so many challenges during the Obama Presidency.

Washington’s premium on the status quo and aversion to innovation will taint any aid failing industrial cities receive – and worse, will prolong those cities’ economic woes.

Since it’s March, imagine a young basketball player with bad shooting habits. The only way that player will get better is if he changes his or her shooting motion to adapt to the game. The federal government solution might be to replace basketball rims with hula hoops or lower backboards, but none of these will actually make the shooter better – and eventually, he or she will get to a level where the rules can’t be changed.

(By the way, this is not some sort of clever metaphor for why the Washington Wizards and Georgetown Hoyas suck this year.)

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