News & Views

Future of U.S. manufacturing dependent on innovation and collaboration

By Mary Wilmoth on Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

It seems like everyone these days is talking about the role U.S. manufacturing *should* be playing in our country and our economy. President Obama has talked about it several times. It’s a hot topic among politicos and incumbents. It’s all over the media.  

Did you see the op-ed piece in the NY Times last week, “Manufacturing a Recovery”? Susan Hockfield, neuroscientist, president of MIT, and half of the 2-person team Obama selected to lead the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, spelled it out well…

Allow me (non-neuroscientist working mom) to paraphrase/summarize:  The U.S. has been falling behind in our capacity to innovate and implement advanced manufacturing technology for a while now… which is weakening our global competitiveness… which is negatively impacting job creation and our economy… which is making everyone who is paying attention nervous about the future of America (since manufacturing is a key indicator of economic strength/weakness).  HOWEVER — this is the good part so pls READ ON — if U.S. industry and government work collaboratively, strategically, and with urgency, we can turn this undesirable situation around.

Like Hockfield, I believe that this last bit is not a fantasy. The idea that we can change the destiny of our country by helping change the destiny of American manufacturing through innovation is something that has resonated in the halls at EWI for a long time. Beyond that, we believe that industry, government, and academia need to work together to come up with a cohesive plan for strengthening U.S. manufacturing competitiveness on the world stage. We know it’s possible, and we’re taking bold steps to get things moving…

In fact, that’s what is behind our Manufacturing Innovation Summit: Strengthening U.S. Manufacturing Competitiveness on Oct. 27, 2011.  (To be announced soon!) Learn more at 

Although the Summit is by invitation only, feel free to contact me, Mary Wilmoth at if you’re interested in attaining results from the Summit or in learning about follow-on activities we’ve got planned.

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