Looking Into the Eyes of a Dinosaur | Product Design and Development The common thread over the past 70 years has been the federal government; for everything from the incentivizing and funding of technical education, to the winning of WWII, to the space race, to the domination of the Soviet Union through our technical prowess, to the residual economic strength in our manufacturing after WWII, to the explosive growth of the defense industry in terms of capability and innovation, to the seeding of innovation through DARPA, NASA, and NIH. Like it or not, the infrastructure that provided the fertile ground for the seeds of innovation to be planted has been our own federal governments investment in us. Globally, when you examine the rise of Germany, Korea, Japan, China, and other dominant economies, you find central governments pouring money into research, subsidizing industry, and otherwise providing the impetus for industry to innovate and create jobs. Take for example the German domination of precision engineering and manufacturing, their domination of the machine tools industry, including lasers, and until recently their domination of solar cell development and manufacturing (China has now seized top spot in solar cell innovation and production due to their government intervention). These things did not come about because their federal government sat idly by and waited for a VC to create the industry. In Korea, the Daewoo Group did not come to dominate the world of shipbuilding and other heavy manufacturing, nor did LG become a major player, without the active participation of the Korean government. How much of Japans technological strength comes from MITI, their Ministry of Industry and Technology? They came to dominate television production, consumer electronics, and a host of other industries, including automobiles, through the direct intervention of the Japanese government. The economic policies of the Chinese government, by suppressing internal demand and emphasizing exports, have built the largest creditor nation in history. Meanwhile, government investment in innovation, education, and manufacturing are making China the greatest economic threat we have ever faced. Mike Rainone is the co-founder of PCDworks, a technology development firm specializing in breakthrough product innovation.