Governments can't drive innovation, but they might be able to steer it, according to a recent gathering of international government innovation experts. While President Barack Obama is just starting to consider a formal innovation policy, countries such as Great Britain and Finland have been working for years to find the best way to encourage innovative business practices without creating too much market interference. "We're determined not to second-guess the future by trying to pick winners and losers," said one British official. "But we do think government can create the conditions so that new industries can rise more easily."

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