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Innovation Key To Prosperity, Says CEA/Zogby Poll

6/16/2009 02:21:00 PM Eastern

Arlington, Va. — Americans believe that innovation leadership is important, but they are concerned about American innovation in a more competitive international environment, according to a new survey released today by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).

Forty-three percent said remaining the innovation leaders of the world is most important to our future success. This compares to military leadership (14 percent), economy size (23 percent) and having the dollar continue to be the world’s de facto currency (11 percent), CEA said.

The economic survey, conducted by Zogby International, found that Americans are concerned about the impact of innovation on our debt (92 percent), educational system (73 percent) and policymakers’ grasp of the importance of innovation (only 17 percent think U.S. policymakers have the best grasp compared to other countries).

The survey was released today as CEA announced a new national grassroots “Innovation Movement” to focus U.S. policies on advancing innovation with the goal of ensuring continued U.S. global economic leadership.

While Americans clearly see innovation as vital, they are unsure if the U.S. is keeping pace with increased competition from new global economic powers, and they are foremost concerned that the rising national debt will impair the ability of the U.S. to remain an economic leader, CEA said.

According to the survey, only one in five Americans (21 percent) believe the U.S. is creating the best environment for innovation. Nearly half chose Japan or China.

More than one in three Americans (36 percent) believes the U.S. will lose its innovative advantage and take a backseat to China.

Seventy-three percent of Americans do not believe that the U.S. educational system is best equipped to develop innovative leaders.

Ninety-two percent of Americans said that the U.S. national debt, currently at $11 trillion, will affect our nation’s long-term ability to remain an economic leader. The debt is projected to reach $20 trillion by 2015, CEA reported.

“Innovation is in our DNA —It’s part of our culture. The American public is concerned that our country is losing the innovative and entrepreneurial recipe that drives U.S. economic growth and prosperity,” said Gary Shapiro, president/CEO of CEA. “That is why we need a grass-roots movement to make innovation the center of national policy debates. Whether it is health care, energy, taxes or even how our companies are organized, we must ensure that U.S. policies promote innovation that generates American jobs.”

The survey also provided insight into why innovation has been such an important part of the American culture:

* Thirty-five percent of Americans said the U.S. economy has been so innovative over the last century because innovators can reap rewards. Fifteen percent said it was due to having the most innovative workforce, while 13 percent said it was due to a culture that allows failure.

* Seventy-three percent of Americans say it is entrepreneurs who create and build companies who are driving innovation. Large companies that invest in research and development garnered 15 percent, while 5 percent believe it’s the policymakers who make spending and tax decisions who drive innovation.

Americans point to the U.S. remaining an innovation leader, more than anything else, as most important to the country’s future success. Forty-three percent said “remaining an innovation leader” was most important, while 23 percent said the “largest economy” and 14 percent said, “ remaining the military leader,” CEA said.

The CEA Innovation Movement (http://innovation-movement.com) includes a checklist to evaluate proposed legislation.

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