A Third Industrial Revolution: Innovation in Manufacturing

The April 21, 2012 issue of The Economist features a special report on the revival of manufacturing in the so-called developed world.  But this won’t be my father’s or even your father’s world of manufacturing.  As with many areas of our economy, it will require skilled workers who know how to manipulate contemporary machines such as three dimensional printers to create new products and meet existent and new consumer needs.  Traditional laborers with tools such as those portrayed above won’t be featured.  Nor will outsourcing to countries with cheaper labor, the pattern over the past 20 years, be prominent.  The rewards will go to those who can innovate and use their entrepreneurial skills to best meet people’s needs.  I encourage you to read (or listen to) the entire report (accessible here ), sign up for courses in our Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program (posted here), or enroll in the ACM Chicago program on Business, Entrepreneurship and Society.

This transformation of manufacturing is well underway but opportunities abound as those of you who went on this year’s LSB Chicago trip saw and heard (thank you Professor Galambos).  As the Special report concludes:

Millions of small and medium-sized firms will benefit from new materials, cheaper robots, smarter software, and an abundance of online services and 3D printers.


One thought on “A Third Industrial Revolution: Innovation in Manufacturing”

  1. Oh I can see how everyone in the world would be happier with more robots… This is true though what the Economist said, we have a very strong need for more manufacturing. This will come after we fully educate more people.

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