Political leaders and captains of industry in the U.S. like to paint America as a land of opportunity based on a simple premise: work hard, be somewhat ingenious, and you will have the chance to do well. Easy as all-American pie. Of course, things are more complicated in practice, but the straightforwardness of this simple message points to a penchant for individualism that underlies many aspects of our society, and which evolved into its present state far more recently than many Americans suspect. At its best, the cultivation of this quality entails a sense of responsibility and self-awareness that are not as natural to many other cultures. At its worst, putting the individual above all else has resulted in forms of self-interest—and a misguided belief that any policies helping those faced with challenges we do not share verge on socialism—that go against many of the founding fathers’ reasoned principles. The second facet of this phenomenon is a relatively new interpretation of American values that may in fact have been encouraged by a form of active engagement that has had unforeseen consequences. … Read More Are Data-Driven, Lean Approaches Impeding American Innovation?