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Although most of my blogs have focused on advice to technology entrepreneurs, I take the chance in this blog to reflect on the role of government in stimulating innovation. I was recently invited to participate in an on-line debate on government’s role in innovation on the The proposition was “This house believes that innovation works best when government does least”

I voted in favor of the motion, for three simple reasons. First, I believe governments are terrible decision makers in the innovation forum; they do not understand it and have access to limited expert help. As a result, much of their activities has, at best, limited impact, at worst damaging effect on the free-market decision-making process. Second, government involvement in innovation is usually slow, motivated by political imperatives and distorts market forces. As a result, it can damage as much as it can help. This is particularly the case when you explore the gestation period of innovation policies, which are longer than the life of government. Finally, by encouraging innovators to respond to government programs and fulfill government requirements, we divert their attention from identifying customers, and expanding internationally. Even with the best intentions, in the words of John Wanamaker

To read the full, original article click on this link: Strange bedfellows – Government and innovation « The RIC Blog

Author: Andrew Maxwell