Getting to the Near Future, and Beyond

The promise of the world of tomorrow is just an empty promise long held out as being made good. But now we really do stand on the precipice of the future. We can peer into the near future with clarity, optimism and certainty. Everything we know today will change, be reimagined and be used in new ways with greater access. From work to play, powerful networks and new tech applications will be the foundation for the next generation of services. How so? Take a look here for a glimpse into the near future.

But it takes allowing people to operate in a truly free market to make that near future the reality of today. That is to say the innovation needed to get to the near future will not happen by accident, it will not happen with any sort of central planning and it will not happen without the states.

According to CompTIA’s CyberStates , the definitive guide to national, state and metropolitan area tech sector and tech workforce analytics, while many tech issues are addressed at the federal level, the states play a significant role as well. The states show a wide variance as to which are performing the best where innovation and policy are concerned.

The CompTIA ranking indicates Oregon’s economic impact by tech is larger by a significant margin than in any other state. Washington clocks in with the second largest economic impact, with Massachusetts, California and Colorado following close behind. Innovation per capita is part of the reason, with California coming in first, followed by Massachusetts, Washington, Colorado and New Jersey.

The top states for tech sector employment is also an important part of the story, with California (1,186,470 employees) again leading the pack, followed by Texas (592,960), New York (377,740), Florida (318,340) and Massachusetts (300,630).

This ranking is made even more interesting when compared to the Consumer Technology Association’s. This scorecard ranks the states while keeping in mind, “New technology and innovative online platforms are threatened by overreaching mandates and outdated rules in local, state and federal governments. We educate policymakers to ensure the innovation economy is protected from laws and regulations which delay, restrict or ban the development of technologies.”

Earning top marks as states that are “Innovative Champions” in no particular order include Utah, Colorado, North Dakota, Michigan, Washington, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. The laggards are noted in no particular order as Alaska, Hawaii, New Mexico, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia.

Put these lists together and it seems some states are coasting on past good policy that is not keeping up or headed in the wrong direction—threatening our near future. California jumps out as the most obvious. Meanwhile, Massachusetts, Colorado and Washington seem to be living up to their potential and trying to grow from there.

States will need to become increasingly diligent in making sure current laws and regulations do not hinder the advancement of innovation. In addition, new proposals will need to be viewed through an innovation lens, taking a hard look to make sure new proposed laws or regulations do not stand in the way of creative ideas, processes, business models, services or products. A good start is to take a look at the model policies created by the ALEC Communications and Technology Task Force to determine what a state needs. Work needs to be done in many places. Without determination by legislators and regulators, the promise of the near future will devolve into a present failure.