Innovation to the rescue?

Will technology innovation help lead the economy out of recession? Some experts say so.

Will technology innovation eventually help lead the economy out of recession?   Simon Johnson of the MIT Sloan School of Management is predicting "a wave of entrepreneurship,"  which will start "right away" but whose total effect won't be felt for about five years, according to a recent article in The Boston Globe.  Johnson notes that, in recent years, the wealth of Wall Street attracted many of the best technical minds into "financial engineering." That's now changing, for obvious reasons.

Meanwhile, MIT President Susan Hockfield recently shared with attendees at the fourth annual MIT Energy Conference her view that innovation will drive economic growth. Said Hockfield:

"I'm convinced that the next wave of economic growth will rise from the same source that powered the information and biotechnology revolutions: from innovation. And today, by far the most powerful potential for immediate, catalytic innovation is alternative energy."

In what areas could technology bring new prosperity? That question was posed to a number of MIT professors in various fields last spring. Their answers ranged from biosolar cells to robots to sustainable cities.

For more on the innovating-in-a-downturn theme, read about Clayton Christensen's views on how hard times can drive innovation.