It’s Vegas and it’s CES and I just finished listening to Xerox CEO Ursula Burns talking about innovation on stage at the world’s largest consumer electronics show.

Burns, along with fellow CEOs John Chambers of Cisco and Jeff Immelt of GE, was part of the Innovation Power Panel at the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show. The topic: how innovation is a competitive advantage that fuels business growth.

Talk about a power panel- three of the most impressive high tech CEOs sharing their thoughts on how innovation will drive future job growth and its importance to education.

So how do these CEOs see global innovation and, in particular, its impact in the U.S.? According to Burns, the key word that defines the future state of innovation is: simplify.  Consumers and businesses will continue to seek technology that simplifies the way we live and work and minimizes the burdens of information overload. It’s about focusing on what’s important to their business and their customers. At Xerox we refer to this concept a lot – the notion that real business today is chaotic and messy sometimes, and those that have the freedom to focus on what counts – their core business – are more apt to succeed. That’s at the heart of what we do for our customers.

Burns noted that CES showcases the latest and greatest gadgets. But even the coolest gadgets have to be simple and that means they need to be “always on” and always accessible. But technology has to extend beyond functions and widgets. It needs to be affordable, incorporate seamlessly into how we live and work, and offer personalization – after all, how we each use technology today IS so very personal.

Another topic that came up is our ability to foster the next generation of breakthroughs from the next generation of scientists, researchers and engineers. All three CEOs were extremely passionate about this.  Burns believes that nothing is more important than winning the brain race. She says that America’s success in the 20th century was fueled by innovation. We had the best and the brightest, but now we are falling behind.   We need to reverse that and create a new generation of scientists and engineers to lead us in the 21st century.

She told the nearly 2,000 audience members and webcast views that companies like Xerox need to continue to work with other like-minded companies to share best practices … identify programs that work … get more business energy behind them … and bring them to scale

Yes, innovation is a driver of global growth and that is something everyone on the panel agreed on.

Watch the CES 2011 panel on Innovation here: m14ygjzp

Editor’s Note:

Here are some media summaries from this morning’s panel:

Cnet:  http://ces.cnet.com/8301-32254_1-20027790-283.html?tag=mncol%3btxt

Forbes http://blogs.forbes.com/briancaulfield/2011/01/07/ces-ceo-variety-pack-jeffrey-immelt-ursula-burns-john-chambers-live/?boxes=Homepagechannels#post_comments

WSJ Digits blog:  http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2011/01/07/tech-executives-schools-immigration-key-to-innovation/

Barrons:  http://blogs.barrons.com/techtraderdaily/2011/01/07/cea-ciscos-chambers-says-us-not-sufficiently-paranoid/