America the Innovative? – NYTimes.com… not so rhetorically asks “if East Asian culture is not a serious hindrance to technological creativity — and presumably neither Intel nor Applied Materials think it is — why are East Asian scientists and engineers generally typecast as underachievers? Part of the explanation is that there are different kinds of technological creativity. Fundamental breakthroughs generate headlines and win Nobel Prizes, but as Ralph Gomory pointed out, it is the more mundane task of turning breakthroughs into affordable products that matters economically. East Asian corporations tend to focus on this second task, and though the details of their “continuous improvement” in production technology are rarely noted in the press, their success has been a driver of the region’s spectacular enrichment in the last 60 years.”