How government can unlock three trillion dollars of value in the digital economy

The traditional Silicon Valley view is that innovation happens in spite rather than because of government. But according to Accenture Senior Director of Strategy, Anand Shah, government does have an important role to play in stimulating  growth.

But it’s not the old top-down New Deal kind of government focused on massive investment in infrastructure and the creation of “shovel ready” jobs. Instead, Shah – one of the authors of the recent World Economic Forum’s Digital Transformation of Industries report – believes that the role of government is now as a collaborator with industry.

He says that government needs to work with partners on new innovations like drones, which – because of often archaic regulatory restrictions – are struggling to realize their value. The challenge, then, for governments is unlocking the value of innovative technologies rather than creating it from scratch.

According to the WEF report, the quantifiable “societal benefits” of unlocked value over the next ten years is more than three trillion dollars.

It’s doubtful that either Hilary Clinton or Donald Trump will read the WEF report. That’s a shame. As Anand Shah reminds us, innovation comes through collaborative innovation rather than building walls or trashing free trade deals.

The challenge now is to create a government with the collaborative agility to be able to unlock value in our networked age.

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