Saturday, April 13, 2024

David Specht: Beyond Rankings — Unveiling the True Story of Innovation

by David Specht

As an editor, I frequently come across rankings and reports that aim to provide snapshots of various aspects of our society. Recently, WalletHub released its report on the Most & Least Innovative States, sparking discussions and debates across the nation. While these rankings serve a purpose and offer valuable insights, they often fail to capture the full story of innovation in our country.

According to WalletHub’s latest report, the U.S. ranks third out of 132 countries in the Global Innovation Index. However, when we delve into the state-level data, Louisiana finds itself at the bottom of the list. While these rankings may seem discouraging at first glance, they only scratch the surface of the innovation landscape in our state.

It’s crucial to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of individuals and organizations that are driving innovation forward, especially here in Northwest Louisiana. From the Cyber Innovation Center to BRF, from Louisiana Tech’s LTRI (Louisiana Tech Research Institute) to BPCC (Bossier Parish Community College) and LSUS (Louisiana State University Shreveport), and of course, BPSTIL (Bossier Parish School of Technology and Innovated Learning), our region is teeming with innovative projects and initiatives that deserve recognition.

While WalletHub’s metrics may highlight areas where Louisiana falls short, they fail to capture the incredible progress and achievements happening right in our backyard. The presence of STEM professionals, the demand for STEM jobs, and the level of R&D spending per capita are undoubtedly important factors, but they do not paint the complete picture of innovation.

Innovation is not just about numbers and rankings; it’s about creativity, collaboration, and resilience. It’s about overcoming challenges and pushing the boundaries of what is possible. It’s about the entrepreneurs, researchers, educators, and visionaries who are shaping the future of our state and our country.

So the next time you come across one of these “listicles,” I urge you to consider the data in its proper context. While rankings may offer valuable insights, they often overlook the rich tapestry of innovation that exists beyond the numbers. Let’s celebrate the success stories, acknowledge the challenges, and continue to support and foster a culture of innovation in Louisiana and beyond.

At BIZ Magazine, we are committed to showcasing the stories of innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship that are transforming our region. Join us as we explore the untold stories and uncover the true essence of innovation in Northwest Louisiana and beyond.

David Specht is president of Specht Newspapers, Inc, publisher of BIZ Magazine, Bossier Press-Tribune, and Minden Press-Herald.

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