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30 innovation lessons for America from around the world

The March 26 issue of U.S. News & World Report includes a cool cover story on what America can learn from the rest of the world:

“We have the biggest GDP, the finest universities, the highest

ownership of color TVs, and the greatest number of Nobel Prize winners.

So how come the Danes are the happiest people in the world? Living in

the dark, no less. Schoolchildren in New Zealand are cleaning our

clocks in math and science. Teachers are better paid and more respected

in Japan. Our highways are choked with traffic, but we can’t manage to

build a train that goes more than 150 mph.

Our eating habits? Please. Just compare our average portion with a

meal in Japan, and you’ll understand why our adult obesity rate is 32

percent, compared with only 3.6 percent for the Japanese. The French,

likewise, are slim and well fed-and they offer world-class

dinner conversation to boot. Their secret: They don’t want to know what

you did yesterday; they want to engage you in a lively discussion of


It’s certainly a thought-provoking premise: after decades of watching the rest of the world follow our lead, is it time for Americans to start importing ideas and lessons from abroad?U.S. News & World Report rounded up a list of 30 “best practices” from around the world, focusing on what Americans might learn from other countries:

“The list is admittedly unscientific and decidedly

incomplete. We’re not even saying that all of these practices would

work here; if Americans wanted free day care and government-funded

maternity leave, after all, they’d have to pay Norway-size taxes. What follow are simply practices that intrigued us: the Germans

retraining prostitutes to care for the elderly, the Brazilian buses

that are so clean and efficient that even the rich people ride them,

and the Japanese toilets that deodorize the room and put the seat down

when you’re done.”

[image: U.S. News & World Report]


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