Societal challenges require transformative solutions, and the last few weeks have been a reminder about the importance of innovation for the public good. COVID-19 has shown up and impacted civilization faster and more swiftly than anything we have seen in a century. While our country has a robust innovation pipeline and over a thousand institutions developing innovators and entrepreneurs, we don’t have similarly strong pathways for innovators creating public goods in areas like vaccine development or education technology.
The results have been on display over the last few weeks – shotgun starts to create a COVID-19 vaccine, coronavirus tests and treatments created on the fly, and parents frantically struggling to figure out which online education tools to use for their suddenly home-bound children.
The US Congress is currently putting the final touches on a relief bill that could provide as much as $2 trillion in direct transfers to American families and concessional loans to American businesses hit hard by COVID-19.