Innovation Blog

“Ignite 2.0” Fizzles: The Unreality Show of the Competitiveness Council

By Shlomo Maital 

     America’s Council on Competitiveness has issued a report, called Ignite 2.0, prepared by Deloitte, about how to boost America’s manufacturing capability. The report is based on the views of distinguished U.S. college presidents and heads of National Research Labs. It contains some 40 detailed recommendations.  And the clash between the theory of the recommendations and the reality on the ground is stark.  Here, in italics, are a few of the recommendations, along with the reality that contradicts them.  Ignite 2.0 is an “UnReality” Show.

 * Benchmark best practices from other countries and reform immigration policies to better attract the world’s most advanced workforce, and retain foreign talent educated in American universities upon graduation.

“The UK has now upstaged America as the most preferred campus destination for Indians. Blame it on the declining job opportunities in the US which is battling the worst downturn in decades or it could as well be that America is still more expensive to study in than Europe.”   “The Indian students are finding their chances bleak to be associated with the dream US destination universities like the Harvards, Michigans, Yale and Stanford – which no longer guarantee the top-dollar jobs – and are increasingly mending their way towards top UK-based universities such as London Business School, Oxford, Cambridge and Imperials among others.”  Source:

     Paul Almeda, AFL-CIO:  “Last year,690,000 foreign students came to study in U.S. universities. Foreign students now earn more than half of all PhDs in math, computer science, and engineering. Fewer of these students say they want to stay in the U.S. after graduation. They are more likely to leave the U.S. because the economies are improving in their home countries, namely China and India. We have created a system that makes us dependent on foreign students and discourages U.S. students from entering STEM (science, technology, engineering, manufacturing)  fields. This is not sound education or economic policy.”

* Fuel private investment by ensuring globally competitive corporate tax rates and strengthening and making permanent research and development tax credits, especially for U.S.- based innovation.  

“Massachusetts Sen. John F. Kerry and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards have said tax law rewards corporate expansion overseas.  Both would cut taxes for domestic manufacturing and offer temporary tax credits for hiring manufacturing workers in the U.S.”  Nothing has been done in this regard so far.

* Implement university programs that promote student interest in math, science and manufacturing.

“In many states, vocational training is available to workers who have been previously laid off or whose previous employer is defunct; such training was expanded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The success of these programs has been questioned, and a 2009 study by the United States Department of Labor showed that the difference in earnings and chances of being re-hired between those who had been trained and those who had not been was small.”  Wikipedia, “vocational education in the US”.  In the early 20th C., America tried to implement the German system of vocational education, but failed and dropped the attempt.

   Great report, team.  Problem is, it probably isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.