In a NYT op-ed about Genius of Jobs, Walter Isaacson made a comment about US ingenuity and how it is THE advantage that seperates US from India and China. In my experience I would say 3 things that work well in US
1. Scaling what works best – Ideas that work are scaled rapidly and money flows to them. You would see no-name companies go from small start to national international in matter of years. Venture Capital does wonders over here. Apple, Genentech, Google and Facebook are prime examples. (Sorry for Silicon Valley bias)
2. Law of Land – is enforced and contracts are followed. Enron, Galleon Hedge Fund, Rajat Gupta etc no one is spared. ( Yeah yeah you can say a lot of folks responsible for Financial Crisis didn’t pay for what they let loose but still I think it is net positive than otherwise)
3. University Education – US has most of the world’s best education institutions. This is one advantage that could erode in future as the cost of education is becoming very high plus new models of education would evolve with ubiquitous internet and collaboration tools it enables.