Thursday, October 27, 2005

People do what is measured: Education - Innovation - Entrepreneurship

As we develop a more highly innovative and productive economy, we need a vision to increase educational attainment, innovation capacity and entrepreneurial activity; we need to build the capability to deliver on that vision; and then we need to measure progress in these areas.

Educated - Innovative - Entrepreneurial
- ought to become our mantra. It is concise, yet captures the fullness of what we need to do. Below is a straw man of what a scorecard built on these metrics might include.
  • Increase human capital through education.
  • Improvement in NAEP scores in fourth grade. (Note 1)
  • Improvement in NAEP scores in eight grade. (Note 1)
  • Percent of ninth graders graduating on-time.
  • Percent associate's degree or higher.
  • Percent bachelor's degree or higher.
  • Increase value added through innovation. (Note 2)
  • Capital investment.
  • R&D expenditures.
  • Number of patents.
  • Hi-tech's share of the local economy.
  • Increase wealth through entrepreneurship. (Note 2)
  • The number of new firm births per 1,000 population.
  • Growth in the number of new firm births.
  • The proportion of young firms that are growing.
  • The amount of venture capital investment.
These measures could be by county, or they could be rolled up by region or for the entire state. The measures of innovation capacity or entrepreneurial activity, and perhaps a modified measure of human capital, could be made for each cluster. The strategy of each cluster or political subdivision would be to increase their educational attainment, innovation capacity and entrepreneurial activity.

Note 1 -The SC Department of Education suggests that, "the National Assessment of Education Progress, also known as "The Nation's Report Card," is the nation's only ongoing survey of what students know and can do in core academic subjects. It also is the only assessment that allows states to compare their results with other states, or with results for the rest of the nation. "

Note 2 - With the exception of "Capital investment," these measures of innovation capacity and an entrepreneurial capacity are suggested by the SBA Office of Advocacy in their report, The Innovation-Entrepreneurship NEXUS: A National Assessment of Entrepreneurship and Regional Economic Growth and Development. Capital Investment is appropriate because industrial recruiting is a part of a comprehensive economic development strategy. Relationships with companies that have branch manufacturing locations in South Carolina should be leveraged to attract research and development facilities of those companies, like was achieved with the BMW IT Research Center at Clemson ICAR.

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