On the world stage, the U.S. has always been a powerful engine of innovation. Defined broadly, innovation occurs when we generate new ideas that continue to challenge and push the current thinking forward to make a positive and lasting impact.
In this economy and beyond, innovation is exactly what we need. Improvements that drive productivity are critical, and technological innovation will play a major role in putting the financial stability of the nation back on the right track. History indicates that the countries and companies that invest in innovation and R&D during an economic downturn will be best positioned to benefit when the economy recovers. Innovation has been one of the leading drivers of economic growth for the past few generations. Technological advancements have helped create a global economy, raise average incomes in many countries and lifted millions of people into the middle class for the first time.
So, where do we get new ideas? They come from an inspiration to do something bigger and better – an inspiration that improves the way we do things. At Microsoft, our innovative spirit is part of our culture and engrained in everything we do. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently awarded Microsoft its 10,000th U.S. patent. Microsoft is also increasing its investment in R&D to $9 billion this year from $8 billion last year. Fully one-third of Microsoft’s employees—32,000 people in 48 countries around the world – are engaged in R&D. Microsoft also has partnerships with hundreds of universities around the world. Microsoft’s Live Labs gives creative thinkers an opportunity to experiment with their ideas and determine the efficacy of pursuing them.
Collaboration with our industry partners is a constant source of innovation, helping us to deliver the best products, services and solutions to our government customers. Our patents, and those across the technology industry, help the federal government speed the adoption of new technologies. Whether it is cloud computing, Green IT, cyberwar systems or other technological advancements in government, innovation will always be at the core of our government’s role in protecting and serving citizens, while helping communities collaborate in efficient and cost-effective ways.
With the Obama administration’s vision to create a more open and transparent government responsive to the needs of its citizens, technology is an enabler of that vision. Now, more than ever, innovation has the power to change the way our government does business. And it is why, even now in tough economic times, we will not pull back on the investment.