Understanding Hillary Clinton’s innovation plan

It’s been an all-Hillary week. But in her Philadelphia acceptance speech, she said next-to-nothing about innovation and absolutely nothing at all about digital policy. So what will a Clinton presidency mean to Silicon Valley? And does she actually have a plan on innovation and technology?

Yes, she does. Last month, she released her Initiative on Technology and Innovation plan. And last week, the policy guru and best-selling writer Larry Downes published a “Brief Review” of this plan in Harvard Business Review. Downes says — surprise, surprise — that there’s a “lot of both good and bad” in the plan.

It’s good on its commitment to supporting visas for high-tech overseas workers, he suggests. But less good, he argues, on Network Neutrality, where she continues Obama’s support for Chapter II and the idea of the Internet as a public utility.

So what role does Downes expect tech and the Internet to play between now and the November election? The big surprise, he suspects, will be that polls don’t work anymore. In spite – or perhaps because of – the explosion of social media, pollsters are finding it harder and harder to determine how people are going to vote.

Perhaps this is because nobody has landlines anymore – so pollsters can no longer reach us. Or maybe it’s because we don’t trust pollsters anymore than we trust Wall Street bankers or politicians, so we no longer tell them the truth.

As always, many thanks to the folks at CALinnovates for their support in the production of this interview.