CES 2012: Education, Innovation Key To Growth


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In the midst of the technology gauntlet that is CES, some people still took time out to talk about education and innovation as it relates to the tech industry.

A panel of CEOs from Xerox, Ford and Verizon spoke on education and innovation during CES as reported by Vegas Inc. The executives pointed out that better education and economic diversification were the key to the United States catching up to leading businesses around the world.

"We must fundamentally improve our educational system," Ursula Burns, chairman and CEO of Xerox, said during the CES' Innovation Power Panel session. "We need to make science and math a desirable place to be. We need great teachers. We need excited learners. We can't complain if we don't have them, if we don't invest in them."

She went on to say that a part of the solution was to make students realize that four or six more years of education after high school could change their financial outlook and success.

"Unfortunately, it's still not cool to be that way," Burns said. "And it's amazing to me how few people are thinking that way."

CEA President and CEO Gary Shapiro, moderator of the panel, said that the aftermath of the death of Steve Jobs put an emphasis on his role as an innovator. It was good for the industry as it showed the importance of innovators and the need for a solid education.

Alan Mulally, president and CEO of Ford, said that the United States needed to get back to letting businesses grow.

"Manufacturing can be a big part of fueling U.S. growth," Mulally said. "It's almost like we've decided not to be competitive."

John Stratton, president of Verizon Enterprise Solutions, said that his company was fostering innovation through the opening of centers in Boston and San Francisco that invite entrepreneurs to develop phone apps and services.

Stratton blamed the government for not establishing new tax policies and putting regulatory burdens on companies as the main reasons behind their stifled innovation.

The executives praised the section on the CES show floor called Eureka! Park that features more than 100 new technologies. Shapiro said that the area featured product categories like broadband services, safe driving and sustainable technologies. It’s his hope that venture capitalists will invest in these new technologies to bring them to market.