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Commission Community Launch

The Council on Competitiveness Kicks Off Year One of its
National Commission on Innovation and Competitiveness Frontiers
January 28, 2020

WASHINGTON, DC - On January 16, 2020, the Council on Competitiveness hosted at Arizona State University (ASU) a Launch Conference for its National Commission on Innovation and Competitiveness Frontiers. The Conference - led by Commission Co-Chairs Dr. Mehmood Khan (CEO, Life Biosciences) and Dr. Michael Crow (President, ASU) - convened a diverse Community of nearly 200 leaders from across the country to develop a new innovation agenda for the United States.

(Coverage of the event - including video and photos - can be found here, courtesy of ASU.)

The January 2020 Community Launch Conference, conceived by the National Commissioners at their first meeting in August 2019, focused on the Commission’s three core pillars:

1. Developing and Deploying at Scale Disruptive Technologies - mapping promising, strategic technology and innovation pathways to enhance national economic and productivity growth.

2. Exploring the Future of Sustainable Production and Consumption, and Work - examining the ever-evolving disruption underway in the production and consumption of goods, as well as the rapid evolutions unfolding in the American workforce.

3. Optimizing the Environment for the National Innovation Ecosystem - exploring ways to optimize the entire system in which the nation's innovators and entrepreneurs operate (from capital costs, to intellectual property regimes, to standards and regulations) - and examining the critical roles the private sector, and local, state and federal governments must play.

Initial areas of focus for the National Commission Community emerged at the ASU-based Conference in a series of deep dive dialogues and innovation immersion tours on campus. Working Groups, in support of the Commission’s three, core pillars, determined areas for further analysis and next steps:

1. Developing and Deploying at Scale Disruptive Technologies. This Working Group considered if the United States is maintaining a competitive advantage globally in developing and deploying disruptive technologies. In order to maintain competitive advantage, the Group determined it would take an inventory of U.S. strengths and weaknesses pertaining to disruptive technology. This includes focusing on the decision cycles of disruption and iterative feedback between stakeholders, developers and consumers. Specific sectors to examine include microelectronics, manufacturing, bio-genomics, materials sciences, and renewable energy.

2. Exploring the Future of Sustainable Production and Consumption, and Work. This Working Group examined two aspects of sustainability: “hard challenges,” such as material innovation and supply chain transformation; and “soft challenges” that alter consumer behavior. Several areas for further assessment include examining reporting standards for corporations, investigating the use of third party audits of corporate sustainability reporting, and exploring the use of materials science in generating sustainability.

3. Optimizing the Environment for the National Innovation Ecosystem. This Working Group focused on infrastructure, policy questions and opportunities related to competition. Competition generates opportunities for economic growth, and the group examined how best to achieve sustained, 3-4 percent annual growth in the U.S. economy. To achieve this, the Group discussed having to overcome some critical barriers, like: unlocking underutilized patented technology and updating the U.S. IP protection framework; reassessing the capital (resources, human, infrastructural, and financial) that goes into an innovation; optimizing access to that financial capital, in particular - from seed and private VC funding; and assessing the “system” of U.S. tech investments (should there be, for example, more state-directed/led investment).

Moving forward, the National Commission’s Working Groups will continue deliberations over the coming months - both via an innovative, online collaboration platform and meetings across the country - and prepare a first draft of key recommendations for review by the National Commissioners who will convene on June 16, 2020 in Washington, DC. 

Additional coverage of the event - including video and photos - can be found here, courtesy of ASU.

More About the National Commission on Innovation and Competitiveness Frontiers

On August 7, 2019, the Council on Competitiveness launched the National Commission on Innovation and Competitiveness Frontiers, a multi-year flagship initiative to define a new path for innovation, productivity and prosperity for America and every American.

Under the leadership of the National Commission Co-Chairs—Dr. Mehmood Khan, CEO, Life Biosciences, Inc.; Dr. Michael Crow, President, Arizona State University; Mr. Brian Moynihan, Chairman and CEO, Bank of America; and Mr. Lonnie Stephenson, International President, IBEW—the 50+ Commissioners are evolving a new innovation call-to-action for the United States.

For additional information or questions about the National Commission, please contact
Chad Evans, Executive Vice President, Council on Competitiveness ([email protected]


About the Council on Competitiveness

For more than three decades, the Council has championed a competitiveness agenda for the United States. While the players may have changed since its founding in 1986, the mission remains as vital as ever—to enhance U.S. productivity and raise the standard of living for all Americans.

The members of the Council—CEOs, university presidents, labor leaders and national lab directors—represent a powerful, nonpartisan voice that sets aside politics and seeks results. By providing real-world perspective to policymakers, the Councils private sector network makes an impact on decision-making across a broad spectrum of issues. The Council firmly believes that with the right policies, the strengths and potential of the U.S. economy far outweigh the current challenges the nation faces on the path to higher growth and greater opportunity for all Americans.

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