July 4th is a day to celebrate independence and innovation

This Independence Day, millions of people will celebrate the holiday with barbecues, family gatherings, fireworks and recognition of our country’s Founding Fathers.

An Arizona State University professor also wants Americans to think about the backbone of our independence and what makes our country different.

Hitendra Chaturvedi, professor of practice at ASU’s WP Carey School of Business, says the declaration of our independence was the first significant step in American history, but entrepreneurship has kept democracy alive since 1776.

“America’s superpower is not its weapons, but its secret sauce; its core competency is the entrepreneurial spirit of its citizens who have created an engine of innovation that drives an economy that remains the most valuable startup in human history,” said Chaturvedi, who is a celebrated author and sits on the advisory boards of many startups and incubators. .

ASU spoke with Chaturvedi to discuss the spirit of America, entrepreneurship and how higher education can foster creativity, critical thinking and risk-taking.

Editor’s note: Answers have been edited for length and/or clarity.

ASU Practice Professor Hitendra Chaturvedi. Photo by Shelley Valdez/ASU

Question: Is there a relationship between the Fourth of July and America’s entrepreneurial spirit?

Answer: The quintessential spirit behind the Fourth of July is American independence, unity, and the celebration of freedom. The American entrepreneurial spirit has always been associated with freedom of choice, freedom to dream big and achieve the impossible, freedom from the shackles of traditional mindsets, and the freedom to innovate, regardless of our background or ethnicity.

July Fourth is therefore a fitting tribute to the fighting spirit of American entrepreneurs and intrapreneurDefined as a manager within a company who promotes the development and marketing of innovative products.he built America.

Q: Why is the need for entrepreneurship so important now?

A: Every few decades, when people think innovation has plateaued, a window of opportunity appears, a great new wave, that reignites our entrepreneurial spirit. People and nations who took advantage of such opportunities changed history.

In the late 1800s, it was the Industrial Revolution, which saw England emerge as the leader. Since the 1900s, Americans have been the first to take advantage of subsequent opportunities—with the advent of electricity and assembly lines in the early 1900s, the postwar entrepreneurial spirit that built America in the mid-1900s, and the Internet in the 1990s.

Not even the Great Depression could stop the American entrepreneurial spirit that turned adversity into opportunity and saw the rise of companies such as HP, Revlon, Texas Instruments, Fisher Price and Mars, to name a few.

Reforming the education system to promote creativity, critical thinking and risk-taking is essential… We need graduates with an entrepreneurial mindset…

Hitendra ChaturvediProfessor of Practice, WP Carey School of Business

Advances in technology have once again given us a window of opportunity. Augmented intelligence, space exploration and climate change are just a few areas that can change the global economic power rankings. As a startup nation and as born entrepreneurs, it is once again time for us to take the lead.

After the war, or during the internet age, the rest of the world was either recovering from the damage of war or going through economic, political and social upheaval. This time, it’s different. Competing nations are not weak; technologies like artificial intelligence are leveling the playing field, so the fight will be tough. We have to ask ourselves: are we ready to take this fight?

Q: What should we do?

A: There are many things that can be done, but fundamentally we need to ask what creates a ground wave and it starts with education. Reforming the education system to foster creativity, critical thinking and risk-taking is essential to building our secret weapon. We need graduates with an entrepreneurial mindset who can innovate as entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs.

Second, let the seeds of entrepreneurship be spread far and wide. Innovation should not be limited to a few large companies. The spirit of the “garage startup”, exemplified by the beginnings of companies such as HP and Apple, should be widely cultivated. Encouraging more people to start their projects will create a robust innovation ecosystem. Let’s make a promise this 4th of July that we will create millions of such garage startups through a wave of entrepreneurial mindset.

Ultimately, to incubate and nurture this entrepreneurial spirit, we need an ecosystem of collaboration between government, educational institutions, investors and companies that provide resources, mentorship and support to ignite the nation’s imagination.