While the United States remains a world leader in technological innovation and entrepreneurship, concerns have been raised about the country’s ability to capture more of the downstream economic benefits associated with these strengths in a way that benefits the economy and the population as a whole. Specifically, as new companies in innovative industries grow and scale up their operations, they face a wide range of options as to how and where to scale up. While the off shoring of low value-added, more commodity-driven production began decades ago, today there are signs that even higher value-added production with more sophisticated engineering and manufacturing is also being conducted off shore. This potentially results in the loss of U.S. innovative capabilities and capacities, since the ability to innovate in a new industry or technology is often tightly linked with manufacturing expertise.
The IPC was part of a MIT initiative, Production in the Innovation Economy (PIE), which sought to analyze the state of production in the United States and to propose new routes from innovation through manufacturing to jobs and growth in the United States. PIE was an Institute-wide effort, modeled on the successful Made in America project of 20 years ago, which led to the creation of the IPC. The project brought together MIT faculty from a variety of disciplines -- economics, engineering, political science, management, biology, and others — to look at U.S. industry in comparative perspective. The IPC focussed on the various stages of the scaling up of production, from prototypes to large-scale commercial production, to understand what factors influence firms’ production decisions with respect to how and where they manufacture.
The IPC is also working at the regional level with leaders in Massachusetts in the biomanufacturing industry to understand how the region, a global leader in the industry, can maintain and further its innovative capacity in the industry as it becomes more globally competitive.