Welcome to the archives for NewsTalk, an IBJ blog published from November 2007 through December 2010.

Innovation drought?

June 8, 2009
Beneath Americaâ??s financial woes lies a lack of innovation, a recent BusinessWeek article argues. A paucity of breakthrough products could have triggered the nationâ??s borrowing binge and ultimately the financial meltdown, it says.

Hereâ??s the logic: A decade ago, the nation was enamored with scientific and technological breakthroughs. Gene therapy would cure physical ailments, fuel cells would power cars, and satellites would extend high-speed Internet to rural areas. Today, despite massive investment in the technologies, few new products have materialized.

As a result, wages stagnated. Also, exports slowed and imports surged, which forced Americans to borrow from overseas sources. The misplaced optimism played into Wall Street excesses.

Close to home, the innovation problem is on clear display at Eli Lilly and Co., which is hustling to find something big to replace patents on top-selling drugs including Zyprexa. Lilly stock, which stands near $34, is nowhere near the $80-plus where it traded early this decade.

BusinessWeek predicts the investment ultimately will lead to those long-expected breakthrough products. For now, lots of people are frustrated and the economy is still sluggish.

What are your thoughts?
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