US Innovation Stagnates: Survey

Americans think China is winning—and China thinks we're on top
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 16, 2009 2:08 PM CST
A majority believe math and computer science are the key to an innovative economy.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Most Americans are anxious about a future they believe will be fueled by innovation—innovation they are doubtful will come easily in this country without major changes to the education system. Nearly two-thirds of Americans say the recession has hobbled the country’s ability to innovate, and just 41% see the US staying ahead of China when it comes to finding the “next big thing,” according to a Newsweek survey.

The picture is slightly rosier when you look at it through Chinese eyes—81% of them say the US is winning the innovation war. In any case, 42% of Americans blame the state of math and science education for the unenviable position the country is in, and 52% say math and computer knowledge is key to boosting innovation. The Chinese disagree—for them, that number is just 9%. They prefer teaching their children about novel approaches to problems.