MIT report identifies keys to new American innovation
“There is no reason manufacturing has to disappear in an advanced industrial society,” says Suzanne Berger, the Raphael Dorman-Helen Starbuck Professor of Political Science at MIT and a co-chair of the PIE commission. “There is much greater innovative capacity all across the United States than we realized.”
What kinds of industrial production can bring innovation to the American economy? An intensive, long-term study by a group of MIT scholars suggests that a renewed commitment to research and development in manufacturing, sometimes through creative new forms of collaboration, can spur innovation and growth in the United States as a whole.
The findings are outlined in the preview of a report issued by a special MIT commission on innovation, called Production in the Innovation Economy (PIE). Among the approaches the report recommends are new forms of collaboration and risk-sharing — often through public-private partnerships or industry-university agreements — that can enable a wide variety of firms and industries to grow.
The report follows two years of in-depth research on hundreds of firms across various industrial sectors, ranging in size from high-tech startups to small “Main Street” manufacturers and multinational corporations. While there are a variety of reasons why the nation should seek to retain its own manufacturing base, from defense capacities to job creation, the report aims to highlight the larger potential that manufacturing holds for innovation-based economic growth in the United States.