What ails us, and what may fix our manufacturing problems, could be different than you think…

It’s counter-intuitive.

That was my first thought listening to a presentation by Suzanne Berger at last week’s Crossroads 2014 hosted by the MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics. Berger is a professor of political science, co-chair of the new Production in the Innovation Economy project at MIT and the author of Making In America. She wrote the book following a multi-year research project into U.S. manufacturing conducted by a team of 20 MIT faculty members and a number of graduate students. Their report was released last fall.

As Berger explained, the project began by asking a few simple questions, but at its core, the group was looking at what level of manufacturing do we need to do in the U.S. in order to reap the benefits of innovation in this country. Do we even need to manufacture in order to innovate? The group conducted more than 265 interviews and spoke to high tech startups coming out of MIT as well as Main Street manufacturing firms.

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