Levensohn Warns U.S. Innovation at Risk

With the economy in a tailspin and thousands of jobs being axed daily, should fostering innovation really be a priority?

Don’t dare ask that question of Pascal Levensohn, founder and managing partner of Levensohn Venture Partners in San Francisco. Earlier today, Levensohn was in Washington, D.C. to deliver a 30-minute keynote address at the Cybersecurity Applications and Technologies Conference for Homeland Security.

“Everything is connected and linked together,” Levensohn told me via cell phone after his keynote. “If we don’t pay attention and address innovation, then things are going to get worse. A comparative situation is the debt crisis. We had decades of people not paying attention. Then the situation exploded.”

The message of his speech this morning was that he’d like to see a more cohesive vision in the United States, with policy makers in government and decision-makers in the private sectors coming together to focus on innovation.

One thing that gives him hope is the decision by Juniper Networks last month to cut back on salaries to save their R&D program.

“More decisions like that will move the needle and improve innovation,” he says.