CEA President Discusses Innovation, Entrepreneurship
Gary Shapiro, President of the Consumer Electronics Association, is also the author of the best-selling book, The Comeback: How Innovation Will Restore the American Dream. Shapiro took a few minutes out of his busy schedule last week regarding the ideas in his new book as well as how the consumer electronics industry is propelling innovation in this country.
The CEA represents more than 2,000 corporate members involved in the design, development, manufacturing, distribution and integration of consumer electronics products.
"Innovation means creating something people are willing to buy," Shapiro said. "Electronics are providing innovation by changing how business is done. Apps, for example. There are over 500 million apps and they've changed how we do things, what we buy, and how we buy it."
Shapiro said that he is a big believer of American exceptionalism, a theory that views the United States is qualitatively different from other nations. He also said that our national strategy ought to be one of innovation and one of recognizing that innovation is a good thing.
"Innovation allows a lot of envy [from other countries] on what we're doing right," he said. "Some of our policies actually harm innovation, such as cutting off our borders and isolating ourselves from trade."
As for what the Consumer Electronics Association is doing to promote innovation, the organization produces International CES, the largest innovation event in the world, where over 140,000 people attend every year.
International CES is the preeminent trade association promoting growth in the consumer technology industry. All profits from CES are reinvested into industry services, including technical training and education, industry promotion, engineering standards development, market research and legislative advocacy.
"Innovators are as important as sports figures," Shapiro said. "This event is a forum for ideas and to promote policies that foster innovation."
These policies include deficit reduction and workplace flexibility, although, innovation requires more that friendly policy. It also requires a sense of entrepreneurship and a strive for the American Dream.
"The American Dream is working hard to have a shot at a better life," Shapiro said. "My advice for entrepreneurs would be to think out of the box, don't listen to the naysayers, and don't hesitate to ask [for what you need] ."