Does the US Have What it Takes to Lead the Future of Manufacturing?
For over a century, America has produced individuals and ideas that have transformed how we interact with the world around us, and it remains the global leader today.
Yet, while America continues to lead the way in disruptive innovations, its insatiable drive to open new frontiers sometimes overlooks the importance of innovating within current industries.
By contrast, as Dan Breznitz recently wrote, Germany, not the U.S., is the global leader in leveraging innovation in service of existing industries. The results have been staggering – and they offer critical lessons for American manufacturing.
According to Breznitz, "German innovation involves infusing old products and processes with new ideas and capabilities or recombining elements of old, stagnant sectors into new, vibrant ones."
This activity is driven by Germany's so-called "mittelstand" – a series of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) which together account for roughly 60% of German jobs.
While these companies tend to be family-owned and prefer conservative growth strategies, they are nonetheless highly innovative. Yet they innovative in a different way.
More on innovation on IndustryWeek.