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18 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 19 April 2011

The key to growing a business or indeed an entire economy is coming up with ground-breaking new ideas - it is all about innovation.

We'll be reporting from China, America and Britain to discover what drives innovation, the link between innovation and growth and why we should encourage more deviant behaviour.

Not so long ago it was simple, the West came up with the innovative new ideas and - a few years later - the economies in the East came up with cut price copies.

Indeed as recently as 15 years ago a staggering 96% of world investment in research and development was made by rich economies. That's not true any more - last month China's status as a scientific superpower was confirmed when it ranked second only to the US in its share of published research - a pretty good proxy for innovation.

This represents a fundamental shift economic power - the West simply can't presume to have a monopoly on the best new ideas any more.

Today on Business Daily we be focusing on the international struggle to lead in innovation.

First off we've got a report from what was once the most innovative nation on earth - Great Britain. It couldn't claim to be that any more but, as the BBC's Economics Editor Stephanie Flanders reports, Britain, like many other countries, now sees encouraging innovation as a key economic policy.

Then we travel to America. The fears here that it America will not be able to keep up its world beating record on innovation, in particular because American public schools are widely considered to be failing at a time when China is investing more than ever in scientific research.

So how can education systems generally - and in America in particular - help encourage innovation?

Professor Lawrence Krauss has some very strong views on that. He is one America's leading theoretical physicists and is passionate about the need for good scientific education. He is the author of a number of popular science books, most famously The Physics of Star Trek which explores the real science behind the science fiction television series.

Finally we go to China. America is still the most innovative nation on earth but, as we have heard, China is now snapping at its heels. Yet China has some big obstacles to overcome when it comes to encouraging innovation as I discovered in Beijing last month when I met with Professor Pi, a professor of deviance, no less.


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