Spotlight | Political Science
Production in the Innovation Economy
Making in America
From Innovation to Market
In her new book, Making in America, Suzanne Berger, MIT Starbuck Professor of Poltical Science, describes ways to strengthen American manufacturing, including public-private collaborations, new government-initiated manufacturing innovation institutes, and industry-community college projects.
From MIT Press
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 America brings 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 America describes 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.
Suzanne Berger is Raphael Dorman-Helen Starbuck Professor of Political Science and together with Institute Professor Phillip Sharp chairs MIT’s Production in the Innovation Economy project. She is the author of How We Compete: What Companies Around the World Are Doing to Make It in the Global Economy and other books.
MIT SHASS members
of the PIE Commission
Raphael Dorman-Helen Starbuck Professor of Political Science
Elizabeth and James Killian Professor of Economics
Richard M. Locke
Class of 1922 Professor of Political Science and Management,
Head, Political Science Department
Michael J. Piore
David W. Skinner Professor of Political Economy, Emeritus
Departments of Economics/Political Science
Professor of Political Science,
Co-Director, China Energy Group