CURTIS R. CARLSON, PH.D. President and CEO SRI International Menlo Park

Creating Abundance in the Global Innovation Economy

We are constantly hearing that America is in decline – that we live in a world of scarcity and if someone else wins, we lose. But is this true? This may have been partially true in the past, but we are beyond the Industrial and Knowledge Economies. We are in the Innovation Economy, where the constant creation of new customer value is required and where it can create new value for many. For example, Siri in Apple’s iPhone 4, which came from SRI International, created great value for iPhone 4 customers and Apple, but also for its manufacturing and software development partners, all over the world. In the Innovation Economy there are countless opportunities for growth because it is powered chiefly by ideas and bits; not atoms and muscle. Unlike natural resources, ideas are an unlimited resource. We potentially live in a world of abundance – there has never been an era with more exciting opportunities.

At the same time, the Innovation Economy is extremely demanding – technology improves at rapid, exponential rates and global competition is increasingly fierce. And today, unfortunately, we are doing a poor job at innovation, whether it is in industry, academia, or government. But it does not need to stay this way. We have examples of success in all three areas. It requires, however, rigorous application of the fundamentals of innovative success to all aspects of society. We made this kind of change thirty years ago with Deming and the quality movement. To thrive in the Innovation Economy, America needs to make that change again, but now based on the fundamentals of high-value innovation.

March 8, 2012   10 – 11 a.m.   1065 Kemper Hall