Wednesday, January 7, 2009

2009, a new year for innovation

We are at a critical juncture for our country. If we are to lead the global economy, improve the quality of life for all Americans and strengthen our national security, we need to invest in science and technology. It really is shocking to me, that for all its impact on everyday life, the technology industry has had insufficient clout in Washington and throughout the United States. We are challenged by the economy; education; security; health care and government management, and now all of this is converging with the seating of a new Congress and the inauguration of a President. It’s time to have your voice heard (Yes, that means you -- the tech exec reading this blog!)

The good news is, President-elect Obama appreciates the critical role innovation will play in addressing those challenges.
(As and aside, I would encourage everyone to (re)read Obama's comprehensive Science & Technology Policy (pdf), in which he promised to double the federal investment in basic research and address the “grand challenges” of the 21st century.) And as most of us geeks know, 61 Nobel laureates in science publically endorsed Obama’s technology & science initiatives, which to date, this is the highest number of Nobel laureates ever to endorse one candidate in particular.

With Obama set to argue for urgent, massive government spending, and what is likely to be a $1.2-trillion deficit, lobbyists are saying that any stimulus should be directed at technology firms. A report just released by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation says that spending $30 billion in taxpayers' money in 2009 on broadband infrastructure, health IT, and electric grid technologies could create or save approximately 949,000 U.S. jobs. More than half of those jobs, the report claims, would be in small businesses.
(see article)

I have personally been a long-time proponent of “grassroots to global” initiatives and commend the leadership of Chris Hansen, AeA President & Chief Executive Officer, alongside Phillip J. Bond, ITAA President, in merging the two trade associations’ memberships and programs. The new entity will be known as the Technology Association of America.

The merger, which closed on January 1st, will give rise to a stronger voice for the technology industry by bringing together the largest number of tech companies though out the United States in a united federal lobbying operation. The new organization, representing 1500+ member companies, will advocate on technology issues in Washington and state capitals across the country and provide programs in every industry center.

“With the onset of a new year, we are faced with many more obstacles and opportunities,” said AeA Chariman Peter J. Bondi. “The consolidation of these two great associations offers the technology industry a strong voice on Capitol Hill and extends the new administration a united partner to foster innovation and address the challenges ahead.”
(see more)

The association will offer policy leadership, networking, business development, standards development, market forecasting, research and a robust suite of affinity offerings and member services. In addition, an exclusive membership in the World Information Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA) – a network of 69 technology associations in countries around the world – and offices in Beijing and Brussels, will round out The Technology Association of America’s robust, grass roots-to-global capability for the technology industry at large.
(learn more about WITSA

So as President-elect Barack Obama tackles some of the most daunting challenges in recent history, I hope the technology community makes a deeper commitment in having their voices heard. Get involved. Be part of the Technology Association of America.


Winny Ho said...

wow! If you’re not inspired after reading Lee’s blog, you must be dead. I’d like to echo Lee’s call to action. Chances are you didn’t get to where you are in life today by sitting back and letting others make decisions for you. Now is the time to take charge of your destiny and impact the success of your company.

So, jump in – the water’s warm. Whatever your favorite cause, all we ask from you is your enthusiasm. Join our community; connect with others; amplify your voice; join our tribe.

barbi bharadwaj said...

Would you like to author in my tech blog?(
If you are interested, please let me know and we can take the talks forward, Thanks.