In his State of the Union address, President Obama used innovation as one of the key words in elaborating his vision for America’s economic future. He embraced the word quite often during his speech, mentioning “innovation” eight times. If other variations of the word, such as innovate and innovative, are counted, that increases the total to 10. Other primary words he used included jobs (12 times) and world (nine times).

Obviously, the President was eager to talk about innovation and set the tone by saying, “The first step in winning the future is encouraging American innovation. None of us can predict with certainty what the next big industry will be or where the new jobs will come from.”

True, and as a matter of fact, the proven path to winning the economic future is to advance economic freedom by promoting policies that generate a virtuous cycle of innovation, vibrant economic expansion, and more opportunities for the American people. Economic freedom is strongly linked to innovation and private entrepreneurial initiatives that cumulatively lead to greater economic vitality for all.

As the findings of the 2011 Index of Economic Freedom demonstrate, today’s successful economies are free from bloated government and its micromanaging. Many economies have increased their efficiency in expanding opportunities for their citizens by enhancing economic freedom, which is the chief engine of vibrant economic prosperity.

The tool of choice for advancing innovation and American economy into the future—economic freedom—requires only an understanding that the people, expressing their wishes freely in the marketplaces of America, know better than any central planner or government bureaucrat what they need to get moving again.