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What did the 2014 State of the Union address tell us about innovation?

Earlier this week, President Obama appeared before a joint session of Congress to deliver his annual State of the Union address. What did he have to say about the state of American innovation?

Writing for Forbes, contributor Nish Acharya noticed several points that Obama made in his speech that could have positive implications for innovation. 

Among the crucial issues he pointed out was the restoration of research funding that had originally been cut by the sequester. Acharya credited the president for calling for its restoration, insisting that it was crucial to future research.

"The reduction in funding, and the threat of further reductions impacted direct research and indirectly affected the R&D workforce," he wrote. "We cannot risk a disruption in our innovation and R&D infrastructure—it is still the greatest advantage we have as a nation. It impacts the researchers, but also the entrepreneurs who seek to commercialize their work, and all Americans who benefit from that innovation downstream."

Acharya said he was also pleased to hear Obama talk about the importance of education. It isn't enough to foster an environment in which skilled innovators and entrepreneurs can create their products—it is also important to have a strong education system that can prepare individuals with the skills they will need to work for some of these future companies.

There were some things that Acharya wanted to hear more about, such as specific job training programs that can help unemployed individuals reenter the economy. 

At Sozo Design, we are certainly interested in how future federal initiatives may affect innovation. We would like to see an economic environment that is friendly to this kind of sector. Like President Obama mentioned, this type of support is needed in order for new ideas to stay ahead, have an advantage, and build a wide ranging impact.

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