Search Icon White

Competing in the Innovation Age: Deborah Wince-Smith Addresses ANSI Joint Member Forum

The United States must build a "creation nation" that can turbo-charge innovation. We have to out-imagine and out-create if we're going to out-compete in the global market, emphasized Deborah L. Wince-Smith, president and CEO at the Council on Competitiveness, at the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Joint Member Forum (JMF) meeting on April 20.

Nearly 100 ANSI members gathered in Arlington, VA, to hear Ms. Wince-Smith's provocative keynote on advancing U.S. competitiveness and prosperity in a rapidly changing, global competitive landscape, and to exchange insights on strategic approaches to key issues affecting the standards and conformance community and U.S. industry as a whole.

According to Ms. Wince-Smith, today is an age of ubiquitous computing, and a revolution is taking place in mega-markets. Emerging world economies have accelerated their integration and are going digital. High-growth economies are increasing population rapidly, and a swelling global labor pool means unprecedented competition for work.

Ideas, she stressed, are the most important assets in the new innovation age. As a nation, we need to think in terms of innovation and creation. There are vast, unlimited opportunities for innovation: biotech advancements such as DNA sequencing and nanotechnology are rewriting the world. In particular, Ms. Wince-Smith said, the U.S. is well poised to create innovative technical solutions in the "Five F's" of life: food, feed, fiber, fitness, and fuel.

"Third-millennium manufacturing" is at the heart this national undertaking. To maintain the nation's success as the world's leading manufacturer, the U.S. must thrive on technological and market opportunities, increase the number of U.S. innovations and products, and accelerate the idea-to-market cycle. Enabling more U.S. citizens to participate in product development through crowd-sourcing and social media is also key.

Beyond Ms. Wince-Smith's keynote address, U.S. innovation was a key subject of discussion at the JMF. Scott Cooper, ANSI vice president of government affairs, spoke about ANSI's response to NIST's request for comment on federal involvement in standards activities related to national priorities. These include critical areas such as Smart Grid, electronic health records, cybersecurity, cloud computing, and emergency communications [see related news item]. Mary Saunders, director of the Standards Coordination Office at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), discussed next steps in the analysis of the recommendations made in the 93 responses received, with the goal of submitting recommendations to the White House National Science and Technology Council Subcommittee (NSTC), on Standards by late June.

Later in the day, Catherine Sheehy of UL's Environmental Program outlined UL's initiative to identify gaps with respect to product sustainability and create clarity in the marketplace. The program's first organizational sustainability standard, ULE 880, sets requirements to evaluate the sustainability of manufacturing organizations. ULE 881 for service sector sustainability is now in the works.

Bryan Seal of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) discussed OSHA's Injury and Illness Prevention Program Standard (I2P2), which seeks to reduce the number of work-related injuries, now estimated at 3.3 million injuries each year.

Rounding out the day's topics, ANSI's Lisa Rajchel provided an overview of major initiatives of the Institute's Committee on Education (COE) for 2011-2012, including expanding the number of case studies on ANSI's site, as well as the reach of ANSI's University Outreach Program.

ANSI members may view the presentations here (log-in required).


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


[email protected]

Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


[email protected]