February 19, 2021 Articles

The Importance of Diversity and Innovation

We must identify current barriers to equal access and opportunities, and provide solutions for breaking down those barriers.

By Tashia Bunch
Increasing IP creation and ownership in minority communities will contribute to societal goals.

Increasing IP creation and ownership in minority communities will contribute to societal goals.

Credit: FreshSplash, iStock

The 2018 SUCCESS Act required the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to work with the Small Business Administration (SBA) to determine the number of patents owned by women, minorities, and veterans and to provide recommendations to increase that number. A report issued in 2019 included steps the USPTO plans to take, as well as legislative recommendations. One such step by the USPTO was the launch of the National Council for Expanding American Innovation (NCEAI) initiative in fall 2020. The initiative includes representatives from private companies, academia, and government to help the agency develop a comprehensive national strategy to build a more diverse and inclusive innovation ecosystem.

As we explore ways to build this ecosystem, we must acknowledge why this is important to the country as a whole and specifically in minority communities, identify current barriers to equal access and opportunities, and provide solutions for breaking down those barriers.

We know that increasing innovation is valuable to society as a whole. This idea appears in the U.S. Constitution when it grants Congress the power to issue patents and copyrights in order to promote the progress of science and useful arts. Today, the United States promotes itself as a global leader, and continuing contributions in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) fields are necessary to remain in that position. Moreover, creativity and innovation often lead to new business ventures and avenues for income contributing to the national economy and job creation.

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