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When you think about it, innovation is an act of aggression. Innovation is competition and when you think about it innovating is really a forum to compete against another entity and it happens at so many different levels. For example it happens between nations. There are people out there that say, "Has America lost its innovative edge? "Are we losing it to different countries?" And I definitely think it's the right question.
When you think about the battle, the economic battle, in generations past it was really around trade and ultimately it moved from trade to productivity, who could be more productive. And Americans are a very productive lot, there's no doubt about it. When you look at the next phase, there's just so much productivity you could eke out of an economy, or out of a company or out of a person.
That battle will turn to innovation. The battle that's going to be fought, it's being fought now, is over innovation. And personally, no, I don't think America has lost that at all, but I do think other countries are turning on to systematic methods. They're seeing it as a skill. In China they teach this to kids. They're teaching their kids how to invent. That should be a concern for the US or any country out there. You've got to keep up, you've got to build skills and innovation at the grass roots level.
Teach your kids to innovate. They will emerge up through the economy and ultimately keep the economy moving forward and competitive. That's not the only place where competition through innovation happens though. Even states in the US. California competes with Texas, New York competes with Pennsylvania. It happens at a city level. The city of Cincinnati is a highly innovative culture. We do a lot of things in Cincinnati that promote innovation because we don't want Columbus to get ahead of us, we don't want Chicago to get ahead of us.
And it happens, of course, between companies. Heck, innovation is competition between divisions in the same company. "That team over there, we're going to take them down! "We're going to out-innovate them!" It even happens between people. Innovation, I think, is the highest form of competition there is and it's a hard-fought battle, there's no doubt about it.
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