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Invest Again in Innovation

Calling all scientists, entrepreneurs, artists, and educators. Nonprofit organization Invest Again has launched a campaign to protect and promote increased US federal funding for the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, and they want your help.

Invest Again's agenda, according to a recent press release they sent me, includes using:

…contemporary and past successes in science and innovation to spark public awareness and support for federal investment in the sciences, and to hold elected leaders accountable for protecting and prioritizing innovation in national budgets. A rededication to scientific innovation creates a massive opportunity for job creation and economic resurgence, while also preparing and inspiring Americans for the jobs and fields that will sustain the world's economic future.

Federal funding for basic research and development has been cut to historic lows and has decreased by 16% since 2010, according to the organization, citing numbers from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. An additional $95 billion is at risk in the upcoming round of sequestration debates, it added.

Eleiza Braun, co-director of Invest Again, said in a statement:

We launched Invest Again because it's time to reassert our global leadership and dedication to innovation, so that our children are inspired by science and our economy can benefit from advancements in STEM fields. There's a reason that NASA generated seven dollars of economic output for every dollar the agency spent. Exploration is good for morale and innovation is good for the bottom line.

We've seen these kinds of efforts before. Remember the big push to get more kids to pursue engineering careers a handful of years ago, and the ongoing campaign to get more girls engaged in science and math programs? And, while I am not advocating for or against this particular campaign (I don't know enough about them yet), it's not a bad idea to rally support for things that usually get left behind on the budget-cutting floor when times are tight, which are things like innovation-focused initiatives and research and development.

But, here's something innovative. Maybe we should we start a similar campaign to spark interest in the supply chain and logistics fields. There's a significant gap between available supply chain and logistics talent and the growing demand for these skills, and many companies are seeing this as an important risk consideration. EBN touched on the talent gap issue here, and we'll be digging deeper into the topic in an upcoming issue of the Velocity e-zine.

In reporting that feature story, several executives suggested that more effort needed to be made in creating awareness about the pivotal role supply chain and logistics plays in today's global economy and to start encourage kids as early as middle school or high school to explore career options in these areas. One could maybe even argue that supply chain management has sort of become a science in its own right (much like business has), considering all the unknowns and intangible pieces still needing to be researched (though the art of refining it — never perfecting it — takes decades of craftsmanship).

Procurian’s 2013 third quarter Spend Trends Report notes, too, that despite being worried about skilled labor shortages and supply chain disasters, companies are prudently investing in innovation aimed at accelerating growth. Rather, their opening their wallets to drive tangible returns and avoiding wasteful spending, the company found.

“Proper planning and market intelligence can make a world of difference when combatting external global factors affecting a company's cost margins,” said Carl Guarino, Procurian's CEO, in a press release. “From government shutdowns to labor strikes at our ports, the events of the past few years have served as a wake-up call to many in the C-suite that action needs to happen now to plan for the unforeseen in a rapidly changing world.”

Maybe there's some crossover between these seemingly parallel but very connected awareness-building efforts. What do you think?

53 comments on “Invest Again in Innovation

  1. t.alex
    December 10, 2013

    Behind every successful product, there is a whole lot of supply chain going on. And not many consumers are aware of this. They only know about innovative design or colour applications. Perhaps every university nowadays should of courses related to supply chain management.

  2. Daniel
    December 10, 2013

    “Calling all scientists, entrepreneurs, artists, and educators. Nonprofit organization Invest Again has launched a campaign to protect and promote increased US federal funding for the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, and they want your help.”

    Jennifer, I heard that in US, they have every year a budget allocation of 3% of GDP for R&D in S&T (Science and Technology) domain. But the utilization is mere 60% of this allocation and rest is lapsing every year. So any action point for increasing this utilizing will be helpful for community.

  3. Daniel
    December 10, 2013

    “Behind every successful product, there is a whole lot of supply chain going on. And not many consumers are aware of this. They only know about innovative design or colour applications. Perhaps every university nowadays should of courses related to supply chain management”

    Alex, supply chain have a major role in productization the technology, but I am not sure about how its related with R&D. If you meant about R&D lab equipments, it's a onetime effort.

  4. t.alex
    December 14, 2013

    Jacobs, R&D do frequently decide on the component used.

  5. itguyphil
    December 14, 2013

    “Perhaps every university nowadays should of courses related to supply chain management”


    I agree. There should be more courses of this type focusing on real-world applications of business, not just theory.

  6. Wale Bakare
    December 15, 2013

    >>There should be more courses of this type focusing on real-world applications of business, not just theory<<

    Are they not existing in the universities or ones that could catch investors' eyes arent available? May be — any technology innovation not mobile centric would probably not make it now.

  7. Daniel
    December 16, 2013

    “R&D do frequently decide on the component used”

    Alex, that's a misconcepts. For R&D, they used to have standard setup and have high grade components. So the set up is standard and permanent.

  8. Daniel
    December 16, 2013

    “I agree. There should be more courses of this type focusing on real-world applications of business, not just theory.”

    Pocharle, all courses comprises of both theory and practical. To get real exposure for practical issues, companies are offering internship and summer/final projects. Now most of the business/management courses have case studies, where the real issues and various ways to address/overcome such issues are covering.

  9. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    December 17, 2013

    @t.alex, never a truer word was spoken. Designers get a lot of credit, but what they dream up is what the supply chain is making happen in the real world. We have to get the word out!

  10. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    December 17, 2013

    @t.alex, never a truer word was spoken. Designers get a lot of credit, but what they dream up is what the supply chain is making happen in the real world. We have to get the word out!

  11. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    December 17, 2013

    @pocharie, a number of high visibility universities in the United States have recently launched supply chain degrees. I believe we'll be seeing a lot more trained people in the workforce, but it will likely take some time.

  12. t.alex
    December 21, 2013

    Jacob, 

    Not necessary. R&D have to make sure the choices of components for final production work too.

  13. Daniel
    December 22, 2013

    “Not necessary. R&D have to make sure the choices of components for final production work too.”

    Alex, am an R&D engineer for more than a decade with Defence and Avionic domain. Most of the component manufacturing companies used to offer free components for standardization with such labs. So none of the R&D lab will source components either directly from market or from third party vendors.

  14. itguyphil
    December 23, 2013

    In our current educational system, there will almost always be a lapse between what is taught in the classroom & what happens in real like. I get the feeling that most schools try to get you through the curriculum & be 'well-rounded' & not necessarily focus on your dreams & what you're good at.

  15. itguyphil
    December 23, 2013

    I agree with the theory/practical point you make. There's been so many examples I've run across where during internship opportunities, students will get shell shocked or even quit that career path because they never got a full understanding just taking coursework. So I think the way we teach is backwards. I think students should have an opportunity to do what they feel suits them, then fill coursework around it, as compared to how we do it now.

    In some schools, you have to “qualify” for a major for a few years before you can even begin to take classes that pertain to your desired career path. So what happens if you're now half way through college & realize you hate what you chose (or worse, someone else chose for you)?

  16. t.alex
    December 25, 2013

    Jacob, maybe defence and avionic is different from SME environment that I have been through. 

  17. Daniel
    December 29, 2013

    “There's been so many examples I've run across where during internship opportunities, students will get shell shocked or even quit that career path because they never got a full understanding just taking coursework.”

    Pocharle, that's the reason most of the course work includes case studies and internship.

  18. Daniel
    December 30, 2013

    “maybe defence and avionic is different from SME environment that I have been through. “

    No idea Alex. But I heard that for R&D, most of the companies/vendor supply sample components free of cost.

  19. itguyphil
    December 31, 2013

    It's still not enough. I'm a big proponent of DO more than you learn. The curriculum is still important but if you can't experience it first-hand, there's something missing.

  20. Daniel
    January 1, 2014

    “It's still not enough. I'm a big proponent of DO more than you learn. The curriculum is still important but if you can't experience it first-hand, there's something missing.”

    Pocharle, for bridging the gap between theory and practical knowledge companies are offering internships and case studies.

  21. itguyphil
    January 21, 2014

    I know that. I'm just saying that it's something that you get encouraged to do too late in the education process. I think it should be emphasized more in the beginning that closer to the end.

  22. Daniel
    January 22, 2014

    “I know that. I'm just saying that it's something that you get encouraged to do too late in the education process. I think it should be emphasized more in the beginning that closer to the end.”

    Pocharle, case studies are meant for that. Case studies are based on real challenging problems/issues from industry.

  23. itguyphil
    January 28, 2014

    I understand that. But too often they're only looked on as something that another person did. Not necessarily giving you a true feeling on whether this is something you too want to pursue. There is nothing like experience in life. Living through things for yourself instead of hearing from others.

  24. Daniel
    January 28, 2014

    “I understand that. But too often they're only looked on as something that another person did. Not necessarily giving you a true feeling on whether this is something you too want to pursue. There is nothing like experience in life. Living through things for yourself instead of hearing from others.”

    Pocharle, internships are meant for such real-time problem solving environment and as a refrence they can use various cases studies with the solutions.

  25. itguyphil
    January 31, 2014

    My point is that as a do-it-yourself kind of learner, I do better when in the situation, not using my imagination based off of someone else's account. I think it's invaluable experience to go through it first hand.

    That's all I'm saying.

  26. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    January 31, 2014

    @Pocharie, you said “
    In our current educational system, there will almost always be a lapse between what is taught in the classroom & what happens in real like.”

     

    Yesterday, at the DesignCon conference i was the moderator of a young engineers panel and one of the big messages from these guys was that there is a huge gap between learning to learn (as they do in university) and learning to implement (which is what businesses want). That makes internships and mentors really important.

  27. Daniel
    February 3, 2014

    “My point is that as a do-it-yourself kind of learner, I do better when in the situation, not using my imagination based off of someone else's account. I think it's invaluable experience to go through it first hand.  That's all I'm saying.”

    Pocharle, good. Would you think schools and college going students are capable enough for sorting out such kind of issues?

  28. Daniel
    February 3, 2014

    “one of the big messages from these guys was that there is a huge gap between learning to learn (as they do in university) and learning to implement (which is what businesses want). That makes internships and mentors really important.”

    Hailey, there is no doubt about that. Theories in class rooms may not be updated with current technology and in lab they are not handling any practical issues. As a simple example, I know still some of the colleges have FORTRAN Lab in their syllabus and even not included Java.

  29. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    February 12, 2014

    @Jacob, that's no doubt true. However, i think it goes beyond technologies to even learning to think like a worker/innovator/engineer/supply chain professional rather than a student. To get an assignment and turn it into a professor is much different than moving the work forward in the real world.

  30. Daniel
    February 13, 2014

    “that's no doubt true. However, i think it goes beyond technologies to even learning to think like a worker/innovator/engineer/supply chain professional rather than a student. To get an assignment and turn it into a professor is much different than moving the work forward in the real world.”

    Hailey, all there peoples are a part of chain in learning curves. it's like a lean and give back to the community.

  31. itguyphil
    February 18, 2014

    My point exactly.

    I say this because when I started college, I thought building stuff was cool & could be fun, so I went with Engineering. It took less than a few semesters before I realized that I hated the process. This was mainly due to a few internship programs I did out of my own volition, not because of requirements.
    I can only imagine how I would've felt if I found this out AFTER graduation or even a semester away from it… That's what I hope others avoid.

  32. itguyphil
    February 18, 2014

    I would hope so. By the time you're in high schol, you know what you think you like & not. So going through the motions will help shape the future decisions you'd make as compared to being ignorant & imagining your outcome, as predicated in the textbooks & lectures.

  33. Daniel
    February 18, 2014

    “By the time you're in high schol, you know what you think you like & not. So going through the motions will help shape the future decisions you'd make as compared to being ignorant & imagining your outcome, as predicated in the textbooks & lectures”

    Pocharle, in text books and lectures, most of the time they follow outdated technologies. But thoughts of students are at par with the current technologies; which used to updated with recent happenings in techno world through various medias.

  34. itguyphil
    February 20, 2014

    If they used newer technology to even simulate the real-world scenarios, I might be willing to say that's a substitute for real interships. But I guess you have to start somewhere when there's nothing in place as is.

  35. Daniel
    February 21, 2014

    “If they used newer technology to even simulate the real-world scenarios, I might be willing to say that's a substitute for real interships. But I guess you have to start somewhere when there's nothing in place as is.”

    Pocharle, elective subjects are meant for that. it's always at par with current technology or skills.

  36. itguyphil
    February 24, 2014

    But those electives are meant to “round you out as a person”, not necessarily be the foundation for what one wants to do with their lives. I'm not saying they're not useful, just not critical in my eyes.

  37. Daniel
    March 2, 2014

    “But those electives are meant to “round you out as a person”, not necessarily be the foundation for what one wants to do with their lives. I'm not saying they're not useful, just not critical in my eyes.”

    Pocharle, normally elective subjects are most updated ones.

  38. itguyphil
    March 18, 2014

    The most updated doesn't necessarily mean it will be useful. You'll learn stuff, just not meant to be that productive to your main objective.

  39. Daniel
    March 19, 2014

    “The most updated doesn't necessarily mean it will be useful. You'll learn stuff, just not meant to be that productive to your main objective.”

    Pocharle, students have always the right to select best for them. If they found that any of the subject is not updated or not useful they have the option to select the other.

  40. itguyphil
    March 24, 2014

    That's not necessarily the case. I had to take classes within a certain field that was of no interest to me. Whichever course I chose was not that relevant to my main curriculum.

  41. Daniel
    March 26, 2014

    “That's not necessarily the case. I had to take classes within a certain field that was of no interest to me. Whichever course I chose was not that relevant to my main curriculum.”

    Pocharle, that's a wrong choice.

  42. ahdand
    March 27, 2014

    Mate you have to see the content and the inner part of it before going ahead. If not you will end up in trouble.   

  43. Daniel
    March 27, 2014

    “Mate you have to see the content and the inner part of it before going ahead. If not you will end up in trouble.”

    Nimantha, normally elective subjects are based on updated technology and skills. The ultimate aim of introducing elective subjects in last year is, to prepare students for knowledge enhancement to face the challenging industry and job market.

  44. itguyphil
    March 27, 2014

    I don't think there's a 'right' or 'wrong' choice. It's all subjective when it comes to these things, especially when you consider that it's young people making the decision.

  45. Daniel
    March 28, 2014

    “I don't think there's a 'right' or 'wrong' choice. It's all subjective when it comes to these things, especially when you consider that it's young people making the decision.”

    Pocharle, you have the right to select the one which most suited to your skill or career.

  46. ahdand
    March 28, 2014

    @pocharles: I think it all depends on what the requirement is. Anyway younger generation are the risk takers, so they cannot be evaluated off hand about their decisions 

  47. itguyphil
    March 28, 2014

    I think I made the right choice. I don't think I was negatively affected by gleaning over the non-critical courses.

  48. itguyphil
    March 31, 2014

    That's true in a lot of cases but it's still a very subjective topic.

  49. Daniel
    April 1, 2014

    “I think I made the right choice. I don't think I was negatively affected by gleaning over the non-critical courses.”

    Pocharle, if it had negatively affected you, then you hadn't made the right choice.

  50. itguyphil
    April 18, 2014

    A little resistance is a good thing. It makes you confirm that your ideas are solid.

  51. Daniel
    April 23, 2014

    “A little resistance is a good thing. It makes you confirm that your ideas are solid.”

    Good strategy

  52. itguyphil
    April 25, 2014

    Yes. If only it was peaceful resistance all the time, it would be welcomed.

  53. Daniel
    April 28, 2014

    “Yes. If only it was peaceful resistance all the time, it would be welcomed.”

    Pocharle, Good

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