The Production in the Innovation Economy project brings together leading MIT faculty from a variety of disciplines – economics, engineering, political science, management, biology, and others – to look at U.S. industry from different perspectives: national, sectoral, and global. The study's overarching goal is to shed light on how America's great strengths in innovation can be scaled up into new productive capabilities. The goal is to develop recommendations for transforming America's production capabilities in an era of increased global competition.
Among key issues the study will examine are:
- U.S. innovation capacity and production capabilities, including the experience of entrepreneurial firms and how their capacities compare to those emerging in other countries, including high-wage/high-cost economies such as Germany and Japan, as well as emerging economies such as China and India.
- New paradigms of production that will speed up the passage from laboratory to market, including bringing low-volume but high-value products to market, integrating early stage production with R&D, and deeply integrating services and production.
- The potential for transformative technologies and related processes (such as new integrated models of biotech manufacturing, customized semi-conductor manufacturing, nano-scale production, and new IT-enabled "network centric" production) as well as for new business models that bring innovation to supply-chain management, workplace organization and entrepreneurship.
- The education, skills and training that the workforce of today and tomorrow will need to contribute fully to the new production systems; how to provide this education and impart these skills to different segments of the population.
- Cross-border production partnerships between U.S. and foreign firms: who gains what? How does the new division of labor affect the creation of value in the U.S.?
The decision to create the PIE initiative reflects previous experience at MIT that helped to inform national policy debates on key economic issues facing the nation. From the MIT Commission on Industrial Productivity in the late-1980s that wrote the influential Made in America report to the task forces in recent years that produced studies of critical national energy issues, MIT has learned to bring faculty from across the disciplines together to conduct rigorous, nonpartisan research that shapes national policy.
The co-chairs of the PIE Commission are Professor Suzanne Berger and Professor Phillip Sharp. Professor Olivier de Weck is serving as the Executive Director.