Rethinking Innovation and Productivity within the Workplace Amidst Economic Uncertainty
59 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2017
Date Written: April 23, 2013
One of the keys to the promotion of economic growth that enables countries to progress from recession to recovery is increasing the quantity and quality of technological inventions developed. Concerns about the steady erosion of the United States’ (U.S.) position as the world leader in science and technology—areas which are considered to be the critical building blocks to the U.S. economy—led President Barack Obama to make improving innovation a top priority during his presidency, which included initiating a study on ways to improve innovation. This move by the U.S. President came at a time when many other nations had started to lay strong foundations in these same areas.The study was based on the idea that, in order to succeed in maintaining U.S. strength, we must have the will to implement and sustain the policies that will prepare the U.S. to continue being an economic leader moving forward.
The main conclusions of the White House Study on fostering innovation were based on three pillars:
(a) enlarging federal support of research in innovative fields;
(b) improving the education system by improving preparatory programs in science and technology related fields; and
(c) improving infrastructure, such as broadband internet access.
This Article suggests a completely different path towards achieving the same final goal, a path that was entirely neglected in the White House study—that is, the significant and substantial role of employee-inventors in elevating the level of U.S. innovation within the workplace. Considering the fact that around eighty to ninety percent of all inventions in the U.S. are the work of employed inventors Improving the productivity of these employed inventors, in order to generate more innovative ideas and pursue worthy ones to the point of economic viability, has to become a critical factor in the modern commercial era, and even more so now in a time of recession. The intersection between the roles and rights of employers and those of employee-inventors is the focus of this Article, since they are relevant to the achievement of growth and development. Employed inventors play a major role in the promotion and advancement of technological innovation, and therefore, policymakers should give ample weight to their role. The research embodied in this Article suggests a desirable new policy for the allocation of rights in and benefits from inventions developed by employees.
Keywords: Intellectual Property, Workplace Innovation, Employees, Employer
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