A Letter From USCCF President John R. McKernan, Jr.

October 7, 2014
Senior Adviser, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation

This letter has been published in the report, "The Future of Data-Driven Innovation."

It is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s mission to explore America’s long-term competitiveness and educate the public on how the free enterprise system improves society and the economy. Part of that mission charges us to explore the emerging issues that are changing the ways we do business in this country and around the world. There is arguably no bigger emerging issue in today’s business environment than the rise of data- driven innovation.

From collection and access to technology and privacy, the implications surrounding the issue of data impact every continent, industry, community, and citizen in some shape or fashion. No one is left untouched by this environment as data permeates everything around us. That is both revolutionary and exciting but also of concern to many, and it is a reality that deserves both our attention and an informed discussion.

Regardless of what form it takes, data tells a story. It can identify cost savings and efficiencies, new connections and opportunities, and an improved understanding of the past to shape a better future. It also provides the details necessary to allow us to make more informed decisions about the next step we want to take. These are the benefits of the unfolding data revolution and the good it offers to us all. Those good things, however, spur dialogue and debate across a range of areas, and it is why we in the Foundation took a focused look at the issues and innovations that are happening in data today.

We started this effort early in 2014 by talking with private sector leaders of enterprises small and large, with government officials at all levels, and with various educators, analysts, and other experts from around the country. From those numerous discussions, events, and programs, we identified several notable experts who offered to share their own insights on these issues and how they will shape the future of data-driven innovation and the economy around it. This report shares the thoughts and insights of these various practitioners. While none of them offers the absolute final word on the data-driven economy, the future of competitiveness, or the policies that would enable more innovation to happen, they do help us better inform the conversation that needs to be had on these issues.

At the Chamber Foundation, we believe that information and discussion is the only way to better understand the emerging issues that data and all of its offerings provide to our future. If the United States is to continue to lead in these areas, it has to be through an active and informed conversation driven by facts, details, and real-world experiences. Going forward, the Foundation will continue to share its insights in these and other areas. By sharing ideas with one another, we know we have a data-driven future for good that will change lives around the world for the better.

Sincerely, 

John R. McKernan, Jr. 

President, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation