NPR

How The US 'Lost Its Way' On Innovation, According To One Entrepreneur

Ilan Gur, CEO of the tech fellowship program Activate, says the U.S. "fell asleep at the wheel" when it comes to innovation.
A scientist works at the serology laboratory of the San Carlos Clinic Hospital in Madrid on June 16, 2020. (Pierre-Philippe Marcou/AFP/Getty Images)

If the United States had invested in developing practical applications for basic science in immunology and infectious diseases, the world could have been better prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic, says Ilan Gur.

That’s just one example of how the U.S. has lost its way when it comes to innovation, he writes in the MIT Technology Review. The CEO of tech fellowship program Activate argues that after World War II, the U.S. “laid the technological foundation for our entire modern economy across telecommunications, space, defense, and health. And then we fell asleep at the wheel.”

The U.S. government isn’t supporting the country’s “entrepreneurial spirit,” he says.

Over time, the government has focused on supporting education and scientific research, which leaves finding practical solutions to the private sector. At the same time,

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