What’s the next “big idea?”
Bemoaning the lack of manufacturing jobs is really griping about the lack of innovation.
Consider railroads, silicon computer chips, textiles, electronics, food processing and the myriad of small and large businesses in the chemical and telecommunications industries.
What’s new in these industries?
Cellphone manufacturers diddle with phone size and camera pixels, but have they really done anything innovative since texting was invented? RSS? Wearables? Those are just extensions of the existing product.
The years of computer innovations, shrinking the tech to fit on a desk, expanding capabilities and compressing data were the basis of the 1990’s tech bubble. Unfortunately, that bubble was driven so far by venture capital that a market collapse brought us back to the reality that world-changing innovation has given in to, basically, over-valued software.
I ask you, the reader, “What’s Next,” as many states have unique streams of revenue.
While some states exploit natural resources, Delaware attracts about 25 percent of its annual budget from absentee corporate fees and taxes. 64 percent of Fortune 500 companies enjoy the unique incorporation laws combined with the country’s most respected Chancery Court, contributing hundreds of millions of dollars a year to state coffers.
California’s Silicon Valley continues to sprout leafy green heads of venture capital for tech.
California, New Jersey and Pennsylvania combine work talent, university specialties and accessible capital to remain perennial leaders in biotech, but where is the game-changing innovation?
What’s missing is the next revolution, like the personal computer, the automobile, the aluminum can, antibiotics, plastics or the invention so disruptive that it that bankrupted thousands of family dairy farms around the country: portable refrigeration (paired with the interstate highway system).
Bill Clinton recently suggested revitalizing Detroit’s economy by sending ten thousand Syrian refugees into the city to rehab thousands of abandoned houses. Unfortunately, Hillary’s husband offered no ideas for how they’d pay for groceries or their future employment.
Meanwhile, Trump’s promise to repatriate $2 trillion in foreign U.S. corporate holdings through tax amnesty could either spur the capitalization of newly inspired ideas or compel businesses to store the cash in domestic vaults.
Either way, “What’s Next” will likely not be a government program.
Exceptions to this presumption include the internet, invented not by Al Gore but by private enterprise and then supported by the military as Dr. Joseph Licklider, Vice President at, Bolt Beranek and Newman, Inc., proposed a global network in his January 1960 paper, Man-Computer Symbiosis.
The Internet Hall of Fame documents Licklider “formulated the earliest ideas of global networking, in a series of memos discussing an ‘Intergalactic Computer Network’ in 1962.”,
Licklider was recruited by the military to bring his idea to reality.
Government programs that have recruited innovators inspired or invested in such innovation are decidedly limited to the military, especially during wars when scientists are existentially inspired to create unique “objects de boom-boom,” and space exploration.
I still have, somewhere, a “space pen” designed by the Fisher Pen Company, to write upside down, in water and in a gravity-free space.
I also own a Russian space-writing utensil: a pencil.
It’s a joke.Russians bought Fisher Space pens, too, at less than $3.00 each, according to Scientific American.The U.S. government’s over-priced $129.00 Tycam Engineering mechanical pencils did not work well.
Drone technology has potential commercial and emergency medical applications.
Unfortunately, the Obama administration prefers government regulations limiting drone applications to stealth-bombing terrorists and innocent collaterals as opposed to delivering a six-pack of Moose Drool beer to isolated, thirsty Minnesota ice fishing enthusiasts.
Relaxed regulations would certainly encourage Amazon to widely experiment with dropping Fire TV Sticks and Harry Potter books on customers’ front porches.
Enterprise Zones are an excellent idea far too often polluted by politics.
The next “Big Idea” will come from individuals building the prototypes in their garages or designing the concept on their laptop.
The oxygen needed to breathe life into whatever it is needs to be limited government, reduced regulations and a spirit of fearless entrepreneurship.
This is how we rebuild an economy.
I suggest you vote accordingly.
Contact Rick at email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter @Jensen1150WDEL