What Commerce Does:
Foster a more innovative U.S. economy—one that is better at inventing, improving, and commercializing products and technologies that lead to higher productivity and competitiveness.
- Accelerate advanced manufacturing
- Strengthen the Nation’s digital economy
- Catalyze innovation ecosystems
- Spread best practices in skills and workforce development
Innovation is the invention, improvement, and commercialization of new products, processes, and services. Innovation is the primary driver of U.S. competitiveness, wage and job growth, and long-term economic growth. Up to half of all economic growth in the United States can be attributed to advances in science, technology, and business processes.
Innovation starts with the birth of new ideas that are nurtured through applied research and development (R&D) and then brought to scale through manufacturing, which in turn generates new products and services. The experience and knowledge gained through manufacturing lead to new ideas that start the cycle again. The Department has central responsibility for supporting and expanding each part of this cycle and has the relationships with businesses necessary to identify workforce skills needed in growing industries.
Innovative manufacturing can be an engine of sustained growth and competitiveness. The Department will increase regional and national capacity for innovative manufacturing through partnerships with state and local governments, academic institutions, and the private sector. The Department will continue to be the principal champion and defender of the digital economy— the greatest driver of innovation and economic growth in the 21st century. The Department is home to the only federal R&D agency specifically targeted at promoting innovation through the development of advanced measurements and technologies, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Additionally, the Department’s convening power, know-how in planning regional economic development, and expertise in statistical and economic analysis will help industry solve critical problems—such as the shortage of high-demand skills and challenges to sustainability—that could threaten U.S. industry’s competitiveness. Finally, the Department will continue to promote intellectual property (IP) policy that supports innovation.