The world needs to improve productivity – if we are to raise living standards, feed the world and avoid water and fuel shortages. Yet, governments seem unable to do this – productivity has been at best sluggish over the last 10 years.
Some governments – rightly – see a link between innovation and productivity – but then they go too far in thinking that increased R&D spending will improve innovation.
innovation is not invention – innovation is more concerned with identifying new uses for today’s (and even yesterday’s) technologies.
So ,yes, we need to improve innovation .
But no, R&D spending is not the way to do it.
I am not advocating spending less on R&D – invention is also important – but we need to look more at how we create the conditions in which people think differently – education, training, induction, empowerment – some of these are government responsibilities, others are for the private sector to work on.