Monday, March 16, 2009

Businessweek - Innovation and Math, Science Achievement Linked

Here is a recent article (March 16) on the ranking of different nations based on their record of innovation. Innovation as in creating new products, new wealth, and therefore greater standard of living for their citizens.

The top of the list is Singapore, followed by South Korea.

We have seen Singapore and South Korea top international math and science tests year after year. It has also resulted in a better quality of life for their people. 25% of the Singaporeans were millionaires last year. That percentage is expected to cross 40% in 2014. The "global slowdown" is not expected to change this appreciably. Why Singapore? One reason given below:

"Government commitment to education is one reason many large drugmakers have made Singapore a base for their manufacturing and research. In January, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) announced plans to invest $65 million to expand its Singapore operations. Schering-Plough (SGP) is opening a center to conduct research and clinical trials in the country, and Novartis has made Singapore the center for company researchers investigating treatments for malaria, tuberculosis, and dengue fever. "Science education is very good here," says Thierry Draganc, project manager for Novartis' malaria research team. "There's a nice constant flow of young graduates." "

Where is the US in all this? Well, we came in 8th. One of the biggest reasons given here:

James P. Andrew, the leader of BCG's global innovation practice and co-author of the report, says "the quality of the workforce" in the U.S. is the biggest problem that many respondents had. As part of the survey, BCG questioned some 800 high-level executives at U.S. companies, and many put concerns about human resources at the top of the list of concerns. "Are we developing the skills at the high school level?" asks Andrew, explaining the responses researchers often encountered. "Are we making it easy for the best and brightest to study and stay in the U.S.?"

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