William A. Wulf Says When It Comes to Innovation, America Has Nothing to Howl About


Whether you call it design, innovation, or designnovation, one thing all Americans can certainly agree on is that it is something we want. But according to the former president of the National Academy of Engineering, William A. Wulf, we don’t have what it takes:

An innovation economy depends on intellectual property law, tax codes, patent procedures, export controls, immigration regulations and factors making up what he calls “the ecology of innovation.” Unfortunately, he argues, in the United States too many of these components are unworkable, irrelevant, inadequate, outdated or “fundamentally broken.”

The Wulf Man is sorry to report that although we shine in some areas, we simply can’t compete. Among our antiquated components are anti-trust laws, patent laws and too-short-term tax credits for research and development. Not to mention a general ignorance of science and tech:

“Here we are with 90 percent of the population incapable of intelligent conversation about some of the most important policy issues of the day,” he said.

Mr. Wizard would be so disappointed.