Innovation and Commercialization of Emerging Technologies Page: III
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Technological innovation is essential to the future well-being of the United
States. The ability of the nation to sustain economic growth, increase its
standard of living, and improve human health and the environment de-
pends, in many ways, on its success in developing and commercializing
new products, processes, and services. The growing capabilities of competitors in
Europe, Asia, and elsewhere around the world increasingly challenge the ability
of U.S. firms to convert the nation's science and technology base into a competi-
tive advantage. Such concerns have prompted much debate about the proper role
of government in encouraging innovation and the commercialization of new
technologies. To date, however, the debate has been hampered by an incomplete
understanding of the ways in which firms develop and market new products, proc-
esses, and services and the barriers they must overcome in the process.
This background paper examines the complexities of innovation and commer-
cialization in an attempt to demonstrate the linkages between science, technolo-
gy, and innovation, and to highlight the growing importance of factors other than
basic research in commercial success. As shown, innovation is a complicated
process in which markets often stimulate development of new technologies and
product or process development stimulates scientific and technical research.
Many factors influence commercial success, including the nature and composi-
tion of markets; competition from older technologies; choices of design and im-
plementation; the availability of financing, standards, and complementary assets
or infrastructure; and the ability to link with strategic partners. Government exerts
significant influence on the innovation process, both intentionally and uninten-
tionally. Research conducted for government missions can benefit commercial
industry; federal procurement can jump-start nascent industries; environmental
regulations can create markets for new technical approaches; government-spon-
sored technology demonstrations can provide useful information about new prod-
ucts, processes, and services to both users and developers; and laws in the areas of
tax, investment, intellectual property, and antitrust shape the environment in
which firms compete for resources and market share.
This background paper was prepared in response to requests from the House
Science Committee (formerly the Science, Space, and Technology Committee)
and the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. Throughout
the course of this study, OTA received valuable assistance from its advisory panel,
contractors, and reviewers, who both provided information for the report and en-
sured its accuracy and balance. The background paper is, however, solely the re-
sponsibility of OTA.
ROGER C. HERDMAN
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United States. Congress. Office of Technology Assessment. Innovation and Commercialization of Emerging Technologies, report, September 1995; [Washington D.C.]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc39803/m1/3/: accessed September 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.