Americans understand that one of our great national strengths is innovation. Great innovators — Benjamin Franklin, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and others — are household names.
The social and economic impact of innovative American researchers, companies, and workers over the course of U.S. history have been enormous. Innovation has dramatically improved the quality of life in this country since the time of Benjamin Franklin, by many accounts America’s most illustrious innovator. More recently, statistics show that innovation is responsible for nearly three-quarters of U.S. post-World War II economic growth. Knowledge-based companies exported more than $1 trillion — approximately 74 percent of total U.S. exports — in 2011. MORE