Summit on Innovation: Federal Policy for the New Millennium
The Honorable Neal Lane
Assistant to the President for Science and Technology

Summit on Innovation:  Federal Policy for the New Millennium

November 30, 1999

Thank you very much for that introduction, Dr. Lehman.  Whenever I encounter a fellow physicist in public policy, I’m reminded of Albert Einstein’s visit to FDR’s office.  Einstein sat enthralled as FDR worked the phones, cajoling feuding members of his staff.  Einstein went away murmuring, “I didn’t realize that politics was so much more complicated than physics.”  I suspect all physicists probably react that way when we enter public service.

But I am very happy to be here today.  And on behalf of President Clinton and Vice President Gore, I welcome all of you to the National Science and Technology Council’s Summit on Innovation.  Our nation’s economic prosperity and technical leadership derive from innovation.  And we owe our strengths in these areas to you, our many partners in the National Innovation System.

Back in August, I asked the NSTC’s Committee on Technology to find ways to strengthen Federal policy to enhance innovation.  I knew the S&T community would have a lot of good ideas.  But the number of thoughtful responses to our call for issues papers and to our invitation to participate in this working dialogue has exceeded my expectations.  Thank you.

President Clinton actually set the stage for this conference when he said, “I believe in the information age the role of the government is to empower people with the tools to make the most of their lives, to tear down the barriers of that objective, and to create conditions within which we can go forward together.”  Your participation in this week’s dialogue helps ensure that Federal policy will encourage innovation in the 21st century.

And what a century it promises to be.  The President and the First Lady recently hosted a Millennium Evening that explored the impacts of advances in science and technology – particularly in information technology and genetics – on our lives 30 years in to the New Millennium.  Vint Cerf portrayed an Internet-enabled universe – with trillions of dollars in e-commerce, advanced health care for even the poorest nations, rapid communication with Mars, and bathroom scales that send lock-down messages to the fridge after the first couple of holiday parties.  Eric Lander described the potential to unlock the secrets of human history and to treat or eliminate scourges such as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.  It was fascinating.

And it was inspiring, particularly for the President.  He recognized the potential for advances in many fields of science and technology to improve many aspects of our lives.  He spoke of the important connections between research and entrepreneurial genius.  And he said that he came out of the evening with a renewed commitment to innovation.

This week, you can help the President fulfill that commitment. You can tell us how we can craft Federal policy that will support innovation. Our current policies were crafted to address the national priorities and market failures of the Industrial Age.  Although many of them are still quite relevant, we must be careful to not slide into complacency. We should not diminish investment in our – and our children’s – future by neglecting to review and reform, where necessary, the government’s role.

The spirit of America is the spirit of innovation and scientific inquiry. Yet America’s innovators make up one of the least-heard political constituencies in America.  We are here to seek you out!  Your work makes major contributions to our economy, to our national security, and to the health and well being of our citizens and our environment.  We want to make it easier for you to do that work.  We understand, and want to make sure our elected representatives understand, that investments in the futureof science and technology are investments in the future of our country, and are investments that Americans are willing to make.

We have a very full agenda, so I would like to conclude my remarks by thanking some of the people and institutions who pulled this event together. The NSTC’s Committee on Technology, co-chaired by Duncan Moore, an Associate Director of OSTP, and Mort Downey, the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Transportation, has organized a dynamic and fruitful program. I want to thank them and the other organizations who have joined forces to produce this event:  the Council on Competitiveness, the Industrial Research Institute, the Science and Technology Policy Institute at RAND, the State Science and Technology Institute, the Woodrow Wilson Institute, and the Center for International Science and Technology Policy at the GeorgeWashington University.  Of course, we are doubly appreciative to our neighbor, GW, for hosting this Summit today and providing the invaluable support of faculty, staff, and students.

Now I have the pleasure of introducing an impressive array of speakers for this opening session of the Summit.  First up will be John Young, co-chair of the President’s Committee of Advisers on Science and Technology. John is perhaps better known as the former President and CEO of Hewlett-Packard Co.  He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Wells Fargo, Smith Kline Beecham, the Chevron Corporation, Affymetrix, Lucent Technologies, i-cube, and Vice Chairman and Director of Novell, Inc.  John’s record as a public servant is quite distinguished.  In addition to serving as my co-chair on the PCAST, he served as the Chairman of the President's Commission on Industrial Competitiveness,  President of the Foundation for the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award, and a member of the Advisory Committee on Trade Policy and Negotiations.  He is also the founder and former Chairman of the private sector Council on Competitiveness. He is currently Chairman of the Board of Smart Valley, Inc. and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.  John has graciously agreed to go over some of his experiences and observations as we have emerged from the cold-war era to this New Economy.

Now we have the opportunity to hear Dr. Martin Baily, the Chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors, and key members of the President's economic team who will address the exciting opportunities innovation presents for our economic prosperity in the 21st century.  Before joining the President’s Cabinet in August, Dr. Baily was a Principal at McKinsey &Company at the Global Institute in Washington, D. C, where he was a co-leader of projects on service and manufacturing productivity and employment, as well as a series of country studies, looking at France, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, Brazil, Korea and Russia.  Dr. Baily previously served as one of the three Members of the President’s Council from October 1994 until August 1996 and was responsible for macroeconomic policy as well as a range of microeconomic issues.  He has served as a member of the academic advisory panel of the Congressional Budget Office, an academic adviser to the Federal Reserve Board, and has testified numerous times before Congress.  Dr. Baily provided invaluable counsel while serving on a panel convened by the Office of Technology Assessment and was the Vice-Chairman of a panel of the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council to investigate the effect of computers on productivity.

     Our third keynote speaker will be presenting a view of the challenges opportunities to industry in the highly globalized New Economy.  Who better to give this perspective than Gordon Brunner, the recently named Chief Technology Officer of Procter & Gamble. Mr. Brunner has led the creation of one of the best developed and most distributed global R&D organizations in the world, as well as a leading-edge internal new venture program which is now producing new global products. He began his career with the Company in the early 1960s as a Process Development Engineer.  After a series of assignments that included heading all European R&D operations, he was appointed Senior Vice President for worldwide R&D in 1987, and was appointed to the Board of Directorsin 1991.  Under his leadership, the life science programs at P&G that support their growing healthcare business have enjoyed enormous growth. Procter & Gamble also was awarded the U.S. Medal of Technology in 1995 for its product innovation accomplishments.

All scientists and engineers, all researchers and educators, and all entrepreneurs represent the "constituency of the future."  I charge you to make your voices heard during this Summit so that we in public service can make informed choices in developing our support for innovation.

Thank you very much.  I would now like to turn the podium overto John Young…

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