A dozen budget wishes for Congress
November 1st, 2013
03:32 PM ET

A dozen budget wishes for Congress

This week saw the start of budget negotiations between the House of Representatives and Senate. But as Republicans and Democrats sit down together less than a month after a government shutdown, will the two sides be able to find common ground? Global Public Square asked 12 commentators, analysts and policy makers for their take on what Congress should be discussing – and what an agreement should include. All views expressed are the writers’ own.

Create a national infrastructure bank – Fareed Zakaria, CNN

If Republicans and Democrats could stop posturing, they would find that they could support a simple, powerful program that would reduce unemployment, make America competitive, privatize an important realm of economic activity, and get rid of earmarks. It is a national infrastructure bank to rebuild America's decaying infrastructure.

America's infrastructure is in a shambles. Just a decade ago, we ranked sixth in infrastructure in the world according to the World Economic Forum. Today we rank 23rd and dropping.

Currently, the United States government funds and operates almost all American infrastructure. It’s a quasi-socialist approach.


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Topics: Budget • Economy • Innovation • Politics • United States
June 21st, 2012
04:28 PM ET

How government funding of science rewards U.S. taxpayers

From The Washington Post

By Fareed Zakaria

It’s hard to find any good economic news these days. Europe is teetering on the brink; emerging markets such as China, Brazil and India are slowing down; and the United States is in a slump.

There is one bright spot on the American landscape: technology, particularly biotechnology. The cost of sequencing a human genome is down to $1,000, and the process now takes two hours — a pace that is much faster than “Moore’s Law,” which says that computing power doubles while its costs drop by half every 18 months. This technology revolution is already transforming whole industries. It is a reminder that, as we confront difficulties across the economic landscape, the one area where the United States can still move from strength to strength is science and technology — if we make the right decisions.

Read the full column at The Washington Post

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Topics: Innovation • Science
Is an MBA worth it for the entrepreneur?
(Courtesy: Dinesh Moorjani)
April 24th, 2012
07:00 PM ET

Is an MBA worth it for the entrepreneur?

Editor’s Note: Dinesh Moorjani is the Founder and CEO of Hatch Labs, a mobile startup incubator creating new platforms and applications to improve mobility for the wireless generation.

By Dinesh Moorjani – Special to CNN

It’s often perceived in the business world that pursuing an MBA degree is analogous to buying career insurance, especially if you attend a top program.

What many aspiring entrepreneurs have found, however is that earning an MBA can actually momentarily slow down an upward career trajectory, considering the degree typically requires a two-year job hiatus at a full-time program.

The real benefit of this advanced degree may be the parachute it serves in times of economic distress.  But for those assessing the risk vs. reward opportunity, the need to consider the likelihood of that parachute opening properly remains paramount.  And perhaps the best indicator of that is how well the parachute is packed, or without the laborious analogy, how talented the individual is and how those talents are channeled toward meaningful professional endeavors. FULL POST

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Topics: Business • Education • Innovation • Technology
Want a life vision? Disrupt the advice market
March 29th, 2012
10:28 AM ET

Want a life vision? Disrupt the advice market

Editor’s Note: Priya Parker, an expert-in-residence at the Harvard Innovation Lab, is the founder of Thrive Labs, a visioning and strategy advisory firm based in Brooklyn, New York. You can follow Priya on Twitter @priyaparker.

By Priya Parker - Special to CNN

Companies like TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Amazon.com have created powerful tools to help us gather advice on seemingly everything - where to sleep, what to eat, and what to read. But have you ever noticed that the boom in peer-to-peer advice has tended to skip over the more important decisions we make - what kind of work to do, whom to marry, how best to live?

One could argue that these matters should be kept far away from anything to do with startups and technology. Perhaps, you would say, advice is and should remain the job of your parents, priests and peers.

But what if you could keep these sources of advice constant, but use new tools and structures to improve the quality of counsel that you receive? FULL POST

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Topics: Innovation
March 20th, 2012
03:37 PM ET

Slaughter: A pivot to the people

Editor's Note: Anne-Marie Slaughter, a former director of policy planning in the US State Department (2009-2011), is Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University. For more from Slaughter, visit Project Syndicate or follow it on Facebook and Twitter. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Anne-Marie Slaughter.

By Anne-Marie SlaughterProject Syndicate

On February 1, the United Nations Security Council met to consider the Arab League’s proposal to end the violence in Syria. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton represented the United States. Midway through her remarks, she began speaking not to the Syrian ambassador, who was in the room, or even the Syrian government, but directly to the Syrian people. She said that change in Syria would require Syrians of every faith and ethnicity to work together, protecting and respecting the rights of minorities.

Addressing those minorities, she continued: “We do hear your fears, and we do honor your aspirations. Do not let the current regime exploit them to extend this crisis.” She told Syria’s business, military, and other leaders that they must recognize that their futures lie with the state, not with the regime. “Syria belongs to its 23 million citizens, not to one man or his family.” FULL POST

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Topics: Diplomacy • Innovation • Media • Technology
Millennials prioritizing productivity over purpose
March 19th, 2012
08:00 AM ET

Millennials prioritizing productivity over purpose

Editor's Note: Priya Parker, an expert-in-residence at the Harvard Innovation Lab, is the founder of Thrive Labs, a visioning and strategy advisory firm based in Brooklyn, New York. You can follow Priya on Twitter @priyaparker.

By Priya Parker - Special to CNN

In the last few weeks alone, we’ve heard this rising generation called everything from the Go-Nowhere Generation and the MacGyver and DIY Generation to Generation Stuck and Generation Flux. In recent years, the generation most commonly known as the Millennials has also been described as Generation Me, Generation We, the Trophy Kids, the Boomerang Generation and the Dumbest Generation. (Ouch).

If one theme runs through these different pieces, it’s that people really like to name this generation. (I am guilty of injecting my own label into the mix last week, when I wrote a piece on the Global Public Square casting my cohort as Generation FOMO. We are held together, I argued, by a shared tendency to make decisions based on the fear of missing out on something around the corner.)

As part of my job, I work with talented Millennials on building alternative future strategies. They often come to me feeling burned out and unsure how to make their mark in the world. We work together to think strategically and soulfully - yes, you can do both! - about the kind of future they wish to build.

In this work, I’ve found that, whatever you call them, many Millennials are inhibited by anxieties peculiar to our time. I’ve already spoken of the FOMO problem. In this post, I want to share some of the other blockages that Millennials tell me afflict them. Next week, I will share techniques that I’ve found helpful in overcoming FOMO and these other inhibitors of building, creating and doing. FULL POST

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Topics: Culture • Innovation • Strategy
Millennials paralyzed by choice
A crowd at the interactive festival at the Austin Convention Center from the 2010 South by Southwest Conference held in Austin, Texas.
March 8th, 2012
06:30 PM ET

Millennials paralyzed by choice

Editor’s Note: Priya Parker, an expert-in-residence at the Harvard Innovation Lab, is the founder of Thrive Labs, a visioning and strategy advisory firm based in Brooklyn, New York. You can follow Priya on Twitter  @priyaparker.

By Priya Parker - Special to CNN

If January is when the old guard gathers in Davos, Switzerland, March is when the new guard descends on Austin, Texas. At a time of crisis in America, Europe, the Middle East and beyond, a group of tech-savvy do-gooders meets, greets and tweets at South By Southwest.

The conference has experienced a surge in popularity in recent years, exploring questions well beyond the sphere of technology. The several hundred panels and featured sessions for this year’s SXSW Interactive tend to reflect the current concerns of the rising elite. In this post, I’d like to add one concern to their list: Can the avid, accomplished doers at SXSW show the way for a rising generation of Millennials who are all too often afraid to fulfill their potential as leaders? FULL POST

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Topics: Innovation • Technology • Youth
Dyson: From standardization to inspiration
(Getty Images)
February 21st, 2012
10:30 AM ET

Dyson: From standardization to inspiration

Editor's Note: Sir James Dyson is a British industrial designer and founder ofDyson Company. Fareed Zakaria recently interviewed 

By James Dyson - Special to CNN

Last week, President Obama granted 10 states freedom from the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The decade-old act holds states to a 2014 deadline to have all students deemed proficient in reading and math.

Even as the standards were enacted, its authors weren’t optimistic. They’d hoped the U.S. Congress would have stepped in to develop a more robust educational measure. The aim of the act was noble: To ensure American students were educated to a level at which they could compete with their global peers. But the method is flawed. Standardization does not inspire.

Two years shy of the deadline, the Obama Administration has given states an out, but not before setting its own benchmarks. To be exempted, states must agree to college- and career-ready standards, set new achievement standards and create new teacher evaluation systems.

The waivers signal a shift in the right direction. But do the new terms simply trade one yardstick for another?


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Topics: Education • Innovation • Technology • United States
Are mobile solutions overhyped?
Aubergine farmer Souleye Ndoye consults, 10 November 2005, his cell phone in his field to check the latest prices for his produce in different Senegalese markets. (Getty Images)
February 7th, 2012
01:35 PM ET

Are mobile solutions overhyped?

Editor’s Note: Contributors to this post will be part of a panel on the topic taking place on Thursday, February 9th in Washington, D.C. Sign up for the event here. This post is part of the Global Innovation Showcase created by the New America Foundation and the Global Public Square.

There are now over 5 billion mobile phone subscriptions worldwide, according to the International Telecommunications Union, with global mobile penetration at 87 percent. In the developing world, where landlines are especially scarce in rural areas, mobiles have been used for governance, banking, agriculture, education, health, commerce, reporting news, political participation, and reducing corruption.

But the ubiquity of the mobile phone - and its application to a diverse and growing set of development goals - doesn’t guarantee economic or social progress.

Are mobiles just another high-tech solution to what are essentially systemic and deeply rooted problems? Are mobile solutions for combating global poverty overhyped?


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Topics: Development • Innovation • Technology • Trends
Can we compete with that?
January 23rd, 2012
09:20 AM ET

Can we compete with that?

The New York Times reports:

Apple employs 43,000 people in the United States and 20,000 overseas, a small fraction of the over 400,000 American workers at General Motors in the 1950s, or the hundreds of thousands at General Electric in the 1980s. Many more people work for Apple’s contractors: an additional 700,000 people engineer, build and assemble iPads, iPhones and Apple’s other products. But almost none of them work in the United States. Instead, they work for foreign companies in Asia, Europe and elsewhere, at factories that almost all electronics designers rely upon to build their wares.

“Apple’s an example of why it’s so hard to create middle-class jobs in the U.S. now,” said Jared Bernstein, who until last year was an economic adviser to the White House.

“If it’s the pinnacle of capitalism, we should be worried.” FULL POST

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Topics: Innovation • Jobs
December 25th, 2011
10:30 AM ET

Slaughter: Design your own profession

Princeton professor Anne-Marie Slaughter writes on the Harvard Business School blog:

"The functions of partnering, brokering, aggregating, curating etc. all point to another dimension of global empowerment. For decades the name of the game in policy-making and problem-solving was to launch a new program or initiative — to do something that needed doing. Today the best advice is likely to don't just do something, stand there. Stand there, look around, find out what is already being done, and then connect existing initiatives, programs, projects, and organizations to one another in ways that allow them to be more than the sum of their parts."

"So what does all this mean for job-seekers in this uncertain economy? Forget the titles on the org charts and the advertised positions. Design your own profession and convince employers that you are exactly what they need. In my view, the New York Times and other information hubs ought to be advertising for curators and verifiers, but you shouldn't wait for them to do so. Define the functions you think they need and you can supply, and then apply for a corresponding position, whether or not they've created it yet."

Read the full article here.

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Topics: Innovation • Jobs • Perspectives
December 8th, 2011
06:26 PM ET

Why we should all paint our roofs white

Editor’s Note: Vincent Valk is online editor for Chemical Week magazine. This post is part of the Global Innovation Showcase created by the New America Foundation and the Global Public Square.

By Vincent Valk – Special to CNN

Let us suppose, for a moment, that it were somehow possible to remove the greenhouse gas emissions of 300 million automobiles around the world – without actually removing any automobiles.

How would we go about doing this? A massive cash-for-clunkers style program in which everyone gets hybrids? A vehicle-miles-traveled tax? Something involving solar and wind farms?

No – we can paint our roofs white.


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Topics: Climate • Innovation
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