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Innovation Files

Technology Podcasts

Explore the intersection of technology, innovation, and public policy with the world’s leading think tank on these issues. Innovation Files serves up expert interviews, fascinating insights, and head-turning commentary on how to accelerate innovation, promote economic growth, and serve the public good. Expect to hear some unconventional wisdom.

Explore the intersection of technology, innovation, and public policy with the world’s leading think tank on these issues. Innovation Files serves up expert interviews, fascinating insights, and head-turning commentary on how to accelerate innovation, promote economic growth, and serve the public good. Expect to hear some unconventional wisdom.


United States


Explore the intersection of technology, innovation, and public policy with the world’s leading think tank on these issues. Innovation Files serves up expert interviews, fascinating insights, and head-turning commentary on how to accelerate innovation, promote economic growth, and serve the public good. Expect to hear some unconventional wisdom.








The Future of Climate Tech Through the U.S. Electric System, With Peter Fox-Penner

The world is facing a climate crisis. But venture-backed clean energy technologies can help avert the worst outcome. Rob and Jackie sat down with Peter Fox-Penner, senior fellow and founding director of Boston University’s Institute for Sustainable Energy and chief impact officer of Energy Impact Partners, to discuss the promise of climate-tech innovation in the U.S. electrical system and venture capital’s role in slowing climate change. Related Hoyu Chong, “Mission Critical: The Global...


The Economics of Data, With David Deming

Data is one of the most essential and valuable assets in the world. It impacts everything from the ads we see and the products we buy to national security. Rob and Jackie sat down with David Deming, the Academic Dean and a Professor of Political Economy at the Harvard Kennedy School and the Director of the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, to discuss the importance of data, data sharing, and ways to protect individual data privacy. Mentioned David...


When the Chips Are Down: Why Domestic Semiconductor Production Matters, With John Zysman

The United States used to be a leader in semiconductor production, but its share of global output dropped from 37 percent in 1990 to just 12 percent in 2019. That helps explain why the country now faces serious supply issues. Rob and Jackie sat down with John Zysman, a professor emeritus at UC Berkeley and co-founder/co-director of the Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy, to discuss why U.S. semiconductor production is down, what it portends, and how America can regain its...


China’s Race to the Top: Authoritarianism in Technology and Global Affairs, With Keith Krach

China is taking an authoritarian approach in its quest to be a dominant power in technology and global affairs. Silicon Valley innovator and former Under Secretary of State Keith Krach has a unique perspective on both aspects. Rob and Jackie sat down with him to discuss how China is impacting global market competition and what it means for U.S. competition policy. Mentioned Present your China contingency plan at the next board meetingFortune MagazineRelated China’s ‘State Capitalism’ Is...


Back to the Future: Historical Lessons of U.S. AI Policy, With Arthur Herman

The United States has been a leader in artificial intelligence (AI) since the 1950s. But AI and other advanced industry leadership in the United States has been threatened by increased competition with China. Rob and Jackie sat down with Arthur Herman, a senior fellow and director of the Quantum Alliance Initiative at The Hudson Institute, to discuss how AI leadership in the United States has eroded and what policymakers can do to save it for the future. Mentioned: Freedom’s Forge: How...


The Future of Buying Cars, With Daniel Crane

One of the benefits of electric vehicles is they cost less to maintain. But that also means there’s less profit to be had in servicing their warranties, which gives car dealers less incentive to sell them. That’s why EV makers like Tesla and Rivian depend on direct-to-consumer sales and distribution. Unfortunately, there are decades-old dealer-distribution laws standing in the way. Rob and Jackie sat down with Daniel Crane, the Frederick Paul Firth Senior Professor of Law at University of...


Investing in American Dynamism, With Ben Horowitz and Katherine Boyle

Venture capitalists know what it feels like when a company is firing on all cylinders. But it’s been a while since the whole country had that feeling of dynamism—so why not focus on companies that help the cause by supporting the national interest, solving critical problems, and doing fundamentally new things? Rob and Jackie sat down with Ben Horowitz and Katherine Boyle of the leading VC firm Andreessen Horowitz to talk about investing in American dynamism. Mentioned The Hard Things About...


The Promise of 5G, With Susie Armstrong

Technology is rapidly developing across many sectors—and that is especially true with wireless technologies. 5G phones give consumers better, stronger, faster service and more capacity to download. But 5G goes beyond phones, it provides great innovative capacity for businesses. Rob and Jackie sat down with Susie Armstrong, senior vice president for engineering at QUALCOMM, to discuss what makes 5G unique and how it impacts smart factories, healthcare, and more. Related ITIF Technology...


The Future of US-EU Trade, With Denis Redonnet

Trade tensions between the United States and the EU have increased over the past few years. Decreasing those transatlantic tensions while promoting fair competition will be especially important with the challenge of a rising China. That is a key goal of the new U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council (TTC). Rob and Jackie sat down with Denis Redonnet, the EU’s chief trade enforcement officer, to discuss the opportunities and challenges for the TTC and the broader implications for trade policies...


The Challenges China Presents to U.S. Technological Capabilities, With Matt Turpin

China’s rapid technological development has put tremendous pressure on the United States to remain competitive in strategically important industries. Rob and Jackie sat down with Matt Turpin to discuss what the United States has done so far to face the China challenge and what future policies should look like. Turpin is a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution and has served as the National Security Council’s director for China and as the senior advisor on China to the Secretary of...


How China’s Role in Technology Development Affects the United States and the World, With Sam Olsen

China views technology and the tech companies that produce it as strategic assets to be leveraged in a global race for geopolitical advantage. That’s why it doesn’t treat its domestic champions as players in a free market—the point is to make sure they win at the expense of Western competitors. Rob and Jackie sat down with entrepreneur and strategist Sam Olsen, author of What China Wants, to discuss the implications of China’s technological development. Mentioned: What China WantsForging...


How China Influences U.S. Innovation and Technological Capabilities, With Barry Naughton

Concerns about China’s rapid rise in recent decades have affected U.S. policies on technology, innovation, and industrial competitiveness. Rob and Jackie discussed the history of Chinese industrial policy and its implications for America and its allies with Barry Naughton, the So Kwanlok Chair of Chinese International Affairs at UC San Diego and author of The Rise of China’s Industrial Policy, 1978 to 2020. Mentioned: The Rise of China’s Industrial Policy, 1978 to 2020Heading Off Track:...


How APIs Are Transforming the Internet, With Rob Dickinson

Application programming interfaces (APIs) are among the most important technologies for Internet the today, enabling software-based systems to automate tasks and redraw the lines between organizations, suppliers, customers, and partners in ways not seen since the birth of the web. Rob and Jackie sat down with Rob Dickinson, co-founder and CEO of Resurface Labs, to discuss the future of APIs and the implications for public policy. Mentioned Improving Accessibility of Federal Government...


The Keys to Diversifying Computer Science Education, With Dr. Juan Gilbert

STEM-related fields are booming in the United States, but they often lack diversity. If the United States wants to remain a leader in these fields, policymakers must take steps to adequately fund state institutions to ensure that all students receive access to STEM programs. Rob and Jackie sat down with Dr. Juan Gilbert, chair of the University of Florida’s Computer & Information Science & Engineering Department, to discuss how the United States has fallen behind in recruiting students in...


The Ghosts of Supply Chains Past, Present, and Future, With Chris Caine

Global supply chains are cracking up. Even before the pandemic, a confluence of economic and geopolitical factors were accelerating the trend—from rising wages in China to nationalist sentiments sweeping the West, to the beginnings of a U.S.-China decoupling. Rob and Jackie sat down with Chris Caine, president of the Center for Global Enterprise, to break down the reasons for the massive disruption, discuss how different industry sectors are making different strategic calculations, and...


R&D Costs, Rx Prices, and the Formula for Success in Life Sciences Innovation, With Stephen Ezell

The United States is the leader in life sciences innovation, but that has not always been the case. As global competition intensifies, it needs to continue spurring investment in R&D to stay on top. Rob and Jackie sat down with Stephen Ezell, vice president of global innovation policy at ITIF, to discuss the history of U.S. life sciences innovation and break down R&D costs versus the market prices of innovative biopharmaceuticals. Mentioned Estimating Long-Term Economic Returns of NIH...


How Giants Rise and Fade in Silicon Valley, With Avram Miller

Silicon Valley obviously has a rich history of technological innovations that have transformed technology and the world as we know it. But with increased competition and stringent policies coming from Washington, its landscape has shifted. Rob and Jackie sat down with Avram Miller, co-founder of Intel Capital and author of The Flight of a Wild Duck to discuss how the decisions made by Intel and other tech giants have impacted Silicon Valley and how policymakers can better support the IT...


The Evolution of Robotics and Prospects for Maximizing Adoption, With Rian Whitton

The first industrial robots appeared in the early 1960s and were initially optimized for production lines. These days, innovation in robotics is progressing rapidly as sophisticated localization and mapping enables improved robotic mobility, and as new levels of flexible manipulation allow robots to perform more specialized tasks. Rob and Jackie sat down recently with Rian Whitton, a strategic technologies analyst at ABI Research, to discuss the evolution of robotics and the prospects for...


Why There Is a Disconnect Between the Economics of Innovation and U.S. Antitrust Policy, With David Teece

Antitrust policy should favor dynamic, innovation-driven competition, yet antitrust regulators generally don’t see it that way. Why is that? Rob and Jackie sat down recently with David Teece, the Thomas W. Tusher Professor in Global Business at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, to discuss the intersection of innovation and economics in antitrust policy. Mentioned Dynamic Capabilities and Strategic Management: Organizing for Innovation and GrowthBig Is Beautiful: Debunking the Myth of...


AI and Defense Innovation, With Lt. Gen. Jack Shanahan

For the military, capabilities in the field matter most, not R&D. So, when it comes to artificial intelligence, the Defense Department has been moving quickly by standing up a special team, like a startup enterprise. Its first pilot project, “Project Maven,” began as an intelligence application. Now the push is on to apply it in other areas. Rob and Jackie sat down with retired Lt. Gen. Jack Shanahan, the first director of the Defense Department’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC),...