- is the introduction of new things or methods.
- our country's core competency.1
- the economic manifestation of hope and future opportunities.2
- creates entirely new markets or new customers within existing markets.3
- occurs when people of diverse talents, mind-sets, and expertise are brought together
with frequent meetings and serendipitous encounters.4
- is not linear and doesn't break up into Science over there and Energy over there.5
In 1945, Vannevar Bush6 began the innovation conversation by writing Science: The Endless Frontier. In that report Bush said that "New products and new processes do not appear full-grown [they]…are painstakingly developed by research in the purest realms of science." With those words The Endless Frontier launched a national conversation linking science to the nation's manufacturing industry and thence to our country's economic prosperity and national security.
However, Bush's concept of innovation was linear, a process that could be mapped on a continuum where applying new knowledge from the laboratory could be traced to the practical purpose of filling workers' pay envelopes. In the latter half of the 20th century, economists and social scientists attempted to document the impact of science on innovation and competitiveness. There was no doubt that innovation had a positive impact on economic growth, but further studies also showed that government support would be effective if innovation was supported in a new collaborative industrial environment similar to Bell Labs. Recognized for teaming theoreticians, experimentalists, material scientists, metallurgists, engineers, and even telephone pole climbers, Bell Labs is best known for its highly successful work that helped invent the transistor and advance laser and cell phone technology.
It wasn't long before this willingness to nurture theoretical research next to applied science and manufacturing skills became a chosen approach. The Boston suburbs, New York state, Philadelphia, Kansas, Silicon Valley, the Hill Country in Texas, and North and South Carolina became home to research parks, innovation ecosystems, regional clusters, industrial commons and clusters, hubs, and now ‘innovation institutes' starting in Youngstown, Ohio.
Innovation is inherent in all of AMO's investment activities helping small, medium, and large manufacturers develop cutting-edge clean energy products and technology that reduce energy consumption in every stage or place it is used in industry.
AMO follows two paths to innovation:
structured as public-private partnerships that conduct cost-shared research with industry, national laboratories, and universities.
collaborative communities that share infrastructure around a specific foundational technology and have access to local knowledge, a skilled workforce, and available capital.
1 Ron Bloom, Innovation. That's our core competency, America's New Manufacturing: A Special Report, The Washington Post, pAA5
2 Innovate America: National Innovation Initiative Summit and Report, Council on Competitiveness, p 8.
3 Clayton Christensen, The Innovator's Dilemma, Harvard Business School Press, 1997.
4 Inventing the Future, Walter Isaacson, New York Times, August 4, 2012. [Review of "The Idea Factory, by Jon Gertner.]
5 Ernest Moniz, Secretary, the United States Department of Energy, Remarks to DOE staff, July 18, 2013
6 Director President Roosevelt's wartime Office of Scientific Research and Development NSF, NACA etc