In Producing Prosperity: Why America Needs a Manufacturing Renaissance, Harvard Business School professors Gary Pisano and Willy Shih explain their view that when U.S. companies outsource their manufacturing operations, much of the country’s ability to innovate and compete goes overseas, as well. Shih, a professor of management practice, spoke with MDM staff writer Angela Poulson on why a manufacturing renaissance would bolster the U.S. economy. He also discusses the importance of building and maintaining “industrial commons” to fuel this revival.
MDM: Why did you write this book?
Willy C. Shih: Our main purpose was to elevate the discussion in this country on what we think is a very important topic. There is a lot of high-level, circumstantial discussion about manufacturing and jobs, and what we really wanted to do is get a more detailed discussion going so that policy makers and leaders in the industry and the public sector can have a more intelligent discussion about core issues.
MDM: Your book’s subtitle is Why America Needs a Manufacturing Renaissance. Broadly speaking, why does the U.S. need a manufacturing renaissance, and how in this case do you define one?