New Reports on Global Remote Working and Managing Innovation Policies

There has been a flurry of interesting policy reports released in the past week.  I’m going to plug two that I think are worth a deeper dive.  First, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) today released an excellent compendium on how new remote working practices will affect place-based policy making among the G7 nations.   The report argues that increases in remote working are likely the most important long-term economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.  For most people, this is a good thing.  However, governments will need to intervene to ensure that these new working patterns do not create even deeper societal divides.  This will require major investments to close the digital divide, to improve health and education provision in rural and less-developed places, and to build new infrastructure, such as new coworking spaces, to accommodate new ways of working.   If you want to see how the remote work experiment is playing out around the globe, this report is worth a look.

Closer to home, my colleagues at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) have released a plan to create a new National Advanced Industry and Technology Agency (NAITA).  The report’s release is timely, coming soon after the Senate has approved the Endless Frontier Act, which envisions major new investments in our science and technology infrastructure.  The ITIF study calls for a new federal agency to oversee key areas of national competitiveness, R&D, and STEM investments.  I’m not always a fan of government reorganizations as the best pathway to reform, but the concept for this agency makes sense.  In fact, most developed economies operate with a lead agency for innovation and competitiveness.  Meanwhile, Americans tend to bumble along with these roles and responsibilities shared by multiple agencies and departments.    We can definitely do better, and will need to do so if we want to remain a global center for innovation and entrepreneurship.  The NAITA may be one vehicle for achieving this goal.