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Making in America

Making in America: From Innovation to Market

Suzanne Berger
with the MIT Task Force on Production in the Innovation Economy
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: MIT Press
Pages: 264
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  • Book Info
    Making in America
    Book Description:

    America is the world leader in innovation, but many of the innovative ideas that are hatched in American start-ups, labs, and companies end up going abroad to reach commercial scale. Apple, the superstar of innovation, locates its production in China (yet still reaps most of its profits in the United States). When innovation does not find the capital, skills, and expertise it needs to come to market in the United States, what does it mean for economic growth and job creation? Inspired by the MIT Made in America project of the 1980s,Making in Americabrings experts from across MIT to focus on a critical problem for the country.MIT scientists, engineers, social scientists, and management experts visited more than 250 firms in the United States, Germany, and China. In companies across America--from big defense contractors to small machine shops and new technology startups--these experts tried to learn how we can rebuild the industrial landscape to sustain an innovative economy. At each stop, they asked this basic question: "When you have a new idea, how do you get it into the market?" They found gaping holes and missing pieces in the industrial ecosystem. Critical strengths and capabilities that once helped bring new enterprises to life have disappeared: production capacity; small and medium-size suppliers; spillovers of research, training, and new technology from big corporations. (Production in the Innovation Economy, also published by the MIT Press in 2013, describes this research.)Even in an Internet-connected world, proximity to innovation and users matters for industry.Making in Americadescribes ways to strengthen this connection, including public-private collaborations, new government-initiated manufacturing innovation institutes, and industry-community college projects. If we can learn from these ongoing experiments in linking innovation to production, American manufacturing could have a renaissance.

    eISBN: 978-0-262-31683-5
    Subjects: Management & Organizational Behavior

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-x)
  3. Preface
    (pp. xi-xii)
    Martin A. Schmidt and Phillip A. Sharp
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. 1 Introduction: How to Move Innovation into the Economy
    (pp. 1-24)

    Over the past decade, as millions of jobs disappeared in a flood of Asian imports and a severe financial and economic crisis, pessimism about the future of production in the United States swept across the country. People started to question whether U.S. manufacturing could ever compete with Asian low-wage production. The trade deficit in advanced technology products deepened—equal to 17 percent of the total U.S. trade deficit by 2011—and it seemed that even high-tech sectors of industry were doing better overseas than here. As in past times of trouble, some blamed foreign governments for damaging U.S. manufacturing by...

  6. 2 What Happened to Manufacturing?
    (pp. 25-64)

    Does manufacturing have to take place on our own shores for us to have an innovative and competitive economy? The debates over manufacturing in the United States go back to the founding of the Republic, to a time when Americans questioned whether we should remain a country of yeoman farmers or become a great nation by industrializing and overtaking Great Britain’s lead. Today’s advocates of encouraging industry still draw on lines of reasoning that trace back to Alexander Hamilton’s 1791Report on Manufactures. Now, however, industry’s supporters are making a case for manufacturing, not against agriculture, but against the claim...

  7. 3 Scaling Up Start-Ups to Market
    (pp. 65-90)

    When new products and processes poured out of industrial research centers like those at DuPont and Bell Labs into the American economy, the challenges of finding the skills, capital, and facilities to scale these innovations up to mass production were met within the four walls of big companies.² Companies mostly used their own cash to finance scale-up. They drew on their own large employee pool for the necessary skills, and added training when new technologies required new capabilities. Careers in these companies were usually long, even lifetimes, and so over the years of an employee’s tenure, a firm could recoup...

  8. 4 Main Street Manufacturers and Innovation
    (pp. 91-120)

    To see what innovation does for the United States, most of us look to Silicon Valley, Seattle, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Research Triangle in North Carolina, or Austin, Texas. These are meccas of high technology creation, the hometowns of Microsoft, Apple, Biogen, Google, and Amazon. In close proximity to them are many other new companies that glitter in the constellation of America’s latest industries. How does the light radiating from these stars reach across the country? In one recent analysis, that of Berkeley economist Enrico Moretti, it is innovation in these high-tech clusters that creates new zones of growth, wealth, and prosperity.¹...

  9. 5 Lessons in Scaling from Abroad: Germany and China
    (pp. 121-154)

    Myths about manufacturing die hard. Two in particular are proving resistant to contrary evidence, and they weigh heavily on our thinking about the future of manufacturing in the United States. Even when these ideas are not explicitly stated, they still invisibly orient views about what is and is not possible in the United States. The first myth is that in an advanced high-wage economy, manufacturing can be only a sunset sector, since manufacturers make commodities most profitably produced in low-cost, low-wage economies. The second myth is that the real advantages of emerging countries in the global economy today come only...

  10. 6 Trends in Advanced Manufacturing Technology Research
    (pp. 155-178)

    Nineteenth- and twentieth-century manufacturing was a long process of transforming the raw materials provided by nature through stages of fabrication, assembly, and warehousing into finished goods for sale in markets. From its origins until today, this has been a production process divided into distinct steps separated in time and space. Raw materials from forests, fields, and mines are transported to a manufacturing plant and temporarily stored in warehouses until needed for fabrication. The warehouse serves as a buffer to ensure that the production line will never be starved of inputs. Next in sequence comes the manufacture of individual components that...

  11. 7 Jobs, Skills, and Training
    (pp. 179-198)

    When Americans think about the economy, their deepest anxieties are about work: Where are the jobs going to come from? What kinds of jobs will be there for their children? While the economy is slowly recovering from the financial crisis and the economic recession, unemployment in 2013 still remains high and the stagnant incomes for most American workers in the last decade show no sign of change. Understanding this situation is a huge challenge for research and for public policy. There are many conflicting explanations of the causes of today’s employment problems, and as many divergent views on the future...

  12. 8 Building New Pathways from Innovation to the Market
    (pp. 199-222)

    In the many reports on manufacturing of the past four years, there are dozens of policy recommendations for strengthening production in America. They range from changing tax codes, financial markets, and trade rules, to reforming education, immigration controls, and intellectual property regimes. They also include, among many other proposals, the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation’s “fifty ways to leave your competitiveness woes behind you” by creating engineering and manufacturing institutes for applied R&D, increasing funding for the Commerce Department’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership, making R&D tax credits permanent, transforming Fannie Mae into an industrial bank.¹ Some of us in the PIE taskforce...

  13. Notes
    (pp. 223-238)
  14. Index
    (pp. 239-250)