The Iowa Caucuses Show People Want Change. Here's Where Romney, Clinton, Richardson, Giuliani McCain, Edwards, Obama, Thompson Stand On Innovation.

The Iowa caucuses are upon us and the message going into this Presidential election is that people want change. But what are the change agendas of the candidates?

We asked most of the Presidential aspirants for their innovation agendas in the last issue of IN—Inside Innovation. Go check it out.

Two out of the leading Republican candidates, Mitt Romney and John McCain have very specific proposals. Among the Democrats, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Bill Richardson have the most detailed innovation proposals. These five Presidential hopefuls have clearly thought a lot about innovation.

The locus of innovation may be shifting away from the US and Europe towards China, India and Asia in general. Certainly the rise of Asian universities and design schools is generating a whole new generation able to create and innovate. The pool of creative talent is expanding East. And we’re not just talking innovating new products or services but new business models as well.

In a speech on the 30th anniversary of China’s opening of its economy, Chinese Chairman Hu Jintao pointed to innovation as a key to determining his country’s growth and progress. As the Presidential election unfolds, I’m hoping that innovation becomes a crucial part of each candidates platform.

It is clear that the US must innovate not only our business organizations but our health care and education systems as well if it is going to grow and prosper in the years ahead. This is the kind of “change” that people are clamoring for. The challenge is in the political and social spheres. We need to innovate our organizations and systems, to change them and make them better, not just make them more efficient.

The message out of Iowa is change. I believe we have the innovation tools and methods to make that happen.

And for those of you who love radio—oops—podcasts—here’s a link to my talk on innovation trends for 2008. It’s a great interview with Helen Walters, editor of our Innovation & Design site. It’s a funny interview but it is also dead serious.

We appear to be moving very close to recession in the economy. Smart CEOs and managers will try to innovate themselves out of this period of slow growth by changing their organizations to be more creative—and generating more products and services that people are passionate about. (Remember what Apple did in the early 90’s with iTunes, the iPod and the launch of its retail stores.) Not so smart CEOs will respond to recession by simply cutting—talent, R&D, operations.

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