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February 21, 2008

News & Opinion: As a nation, we must embrace innovation.

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 7:39 PM – Filed under: Innovation & Creativity

One of the runner-ups for our Innovation/Creativity award was Innovation Nation by John Kao, who, among other pursuits, is a professor at Harvard, a jazz musician and was named "Mr. Creativity" by the Economist. This quote from the Economist should tell you something about him: "If Orsen Welles and Peter Drucker were somehow to mate, the resulting progeny might resemble John Kao, a serial innovator."
John's looking to start a conversation on innovation as a nationwide pursuit. (And what better time, than with the incoming of a new president?) Innovation, he explains, needs to be built up by the nation. Schools can't do it alone. Businesses can't do it alone. Nor can the government. Each body needs to come together to spare us from becoming the "Detroit of nations."
From a Q&A with John:
As someone who has been identified with the subject of innovation for some twenty-five years, I am appalled at the denial, indifference and ignorance I see surrounding this important topic. To quote from Innovation Nation:
"I see a crisis brewing, and it makes me angry. We should be doing better than we are. We have the talent, money, track record and infrastructure necessary for continued success. But we are rapidly becoming the fat, complacent Detroit of nations. We are losing a collective sense of purpose along with our fire, ambition, and determination to achieve."

The book is certainly a conversation starter. You can learn more with a quick video with John over at bnet. And if you're interested, John is a contributor to the Huffington Post.

About Dylan Schleicher


Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.