The Future of Innovation and Entrepreneurship

In a presentation to the International Economic Development Council, Mark Muro outlines ways to build innovation in the United States. He calls for a strategy that properly uses the expertise and assets concentrated in metropolitan areas, along with stressing the importance of exports.

Good morning. I’m Mark Muro, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and the policy director of the Metropolitan Policy Program there, and I want to thank all of you for coming to this session on innovation and entrepreneurship.

It’s an important time for our discussion so it’s a pleasure to participate especially since the IEDC’s forums are always timely and on-point.

Anyway, what I thought would be most useful this morning is for me to say a little about the new federal push on innovation and entrepreneurship especially in regards to the strong regional flavor that runs through it.

Now, you may ask, “What could be new about innovation and entrepreneurship policy?” “Isn’t that really just the usual mix of tax policies and R&D investments at the macro end and SBA and SBIR grants and entrepreneurship training at the micro end?”

Well, no: As it happens, the federal government really is embarking on a new path that considers not just “macro” economic policy on the one hand and micro stuff for individual firms and innovators but also the context in which they operate and the institutions that help or hinder them.

And so what want to do now is try to give you a sense of the emerging approach by, first, suggesting some of the perspective and federal policy concepts we’ve been promoting at the Metro Program; and then, second, reviewing some of the government’s responses.

After that I’ll make a few comments on where things maybe should go.