Innovation At Risk

Today on one of my favorite runs I listened to an interview from IT Conversations with Dean Kamen. Many know Dean from the Segway scooter and other projects and inventions. Dean describes himself as a cockroach in the interview -- doesn't die, doesn't go away, does what ever needs to be done regardless of the roll.

A quick note on Conversations Network - 

I would highly recommend this, it costs about a latte a month, and has some great social innovation and

impact of technology on the world we live content.

Inspiring!

A large part of the interview was a call to arms -- the US has a cultural challenge in terms of not putting cultural significance around roles in science, technology, and engineering. He points out that a US school age child will grow up with 6.4 billion competitors across the world, increasingly outside the US, who will focus in these areas. How will the US maintain its quality of lifestyle, engineering excellence and success, when we have very few kids that can even name a living scientist? How many can you name? But I bet all of us (and them) can name 10 times as many sports and entertainment figures.

Dean's interview brought me back a few years. I grew up in the middle of no where really, town of 9000 people (counting the dogs I think). I was lucky and got surrounded (luck? my boredom?) by teachers, relatives, college professors that wanted to take an active role in guiding me to something new and exciting, whether computers or biology.

My uncle worked at IBM. I looked at him as one of the smartest people there ever was. I went to IBM once and saw robots delivering mail. Well, so here I am, at Sun. I would like to see the US still play a global role in innovation. What is our role in this? What must we do?

Dean's non-profit organization called FIRST puts on events across the US to get grade school kids involved in science, robotics, technology. I know I'm going to be signing up and spending some time with these kids. Care to join me?

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Thoughts from Jason Carolan -- Distinguished Engineer @ Sun and Global Systems Engineering Director - http://twitter.com/jtcarolan - http://archmatters.wordpress.com

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