Your Economy is a Petri Dish: Culture It.

By Ashley Mergen

A quick look at Thomson Reuter’s Top 100 Global Innovators list may leave 95% of the world’s trading population wondering what the secret is. The lion’s share of innovative companies ranging from 3M to Texas Instruments all call the U.S.A. home, begging the question why innovation seems to flourish in the United States.

The fact that the world’s most innovative companies incubate in the U.S. is no coincidence, let alone the result of some sort of predisposition to innovate. In fact, if you look at the other countries represented on the list, like Japan, Germany, France, and Taiwan, you’ll see that they all have something in common: they’re intellectual property (IP)-driven economies.

No doubt that from Melbourne to Minsk, innovators of all shapes and sizes are brimming with ingenuity. Like a petri dish, their ability to succeed in seeing through the creative process, however, is largely contingent on the environment in which they are part of, with climates that foster creativity and protect IP being the most ideal.

Just this week, U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry took this message straight to leaders at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. According to the Washington Post, Secretary Kerry believes that “the world’s next star entrepreneurs will not be born out of economies that repress innovation and steal good ideas,” saying further that:

Every entrepreneur and business in the Asia Pacific needs to know that they can reap the benefits when they develop the next big thing… If your ideas are at risk of being stolen, and your innovations can be ripped off, you will never reach the full potential of that country or economy.

This especially rings true among the negotiating nations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement, which state leaders will take part in later this week. Meaningful and robust guidelines on patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets in the TPP are truly necessary to launch the incredible pool of regional innovators onto the international economic stage.

Nurturing intellectual property rights globally lets the natural talent- no matter what nationality- shine through.

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