Can Innovation Really Solve Society’s Problems?

To Reckon With Today’s Greatest Challenges, We Need to Rethink Innovation Itself

Since World War II, the United States has famously funded research to advance all fields of science and innovation, fueling new disease-fighting drugs, increasing economic productivity, and sparking an information revolution through advances like the internet and GPS. Yet our society remains bedeviled by a host of problems—from healthcare disparities to income inequality and structural racism. Can discovery and invention really fix the entrenched inequities and deep divisions that ail America?

On Tuesday, former DARPA director Arati Prabhakar, who is the CEO and founder of the new nonprofit Actuate, visited Zócalo …