IPL Speaker Series | Advanced Manufacturing: The New American Innovation Policies

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Thursday, February 8th, 2018

Thursday, February 8, 20182:00PM - 4:00PM208N, North House, 1 Devonshire Place
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Innovation Policy Lab Seminar Series


The United States lost almost one-third of its manufacturing jobs between 2000 and 2010. As higher-paying manufacturing jobs are replaced by lower-paying service jobs, income inequality has increased. Between 1990 and 2013, the median income of men without high school diplomas fell by an astonishing 20%, and that of men with high school diplomas or some college by 13%. Innovation has been left largely to software and IT startups, and increasingly U.S. firms operate on a system of “innovate here/produce there,” leaving the manufacturing sector behind. In this talk, Dr. Bonvillian will share insights from his new book (co-authored with Peter Singer) about how to rethink innovation and revitalize America’s declining manufacturing sector. He will discuss how advanced manufacturing—particularly, new production paradigms that can increase efficiency and reduce costs, the new process and business models that must accompany them, and alternative funding models for start-up manufacturers—will be key to revitalization. And he will highlight the importance of new models for training workers and the role of manufacturing in addressing secular stagnation in innovation, growth, productivity and middle class prosperity. As recent political turmoil shows, the stakes could not be higher.

About the Speaker

William B. Bonvillian is Lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Science Technology and Society and Political Science Departments, and advises on research projects at MIT’s Industrial Performance Center. From 2006-17, he was Director of MIT’s Washington, D.C. Office, supporting MIT’s strong and historic relations with federal R&D agencies, and its role on national science policy. He has assisted with major MIT technology policy initiatives, on energy technology, the “convergence” of life, engineering and physical sciences, advanced manufacturing, online higher education and its “innovation orchard” project on startup scale-up. Prior to that, he served for seventeen years as a senior policy advisor in the U.S. Senate. His legislative efforts included science and technology policy and innovation issues. He worked extensively on legislation creating the Department of Homeland Security, on Intelligence Reform, on climate change, on defense and life science R&D, and on national competitiveness and innovation legislation leading to the America Competes Act in 2007.


Sole Fernandez


William Boone Bonvillian
Lecturer Science, Technology and Society Program Department of Political Science Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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