Restoring American Competitiveness

The Harvard Business Review released an article, “Restoring American Competiveness,” which highlights opportunities to rebuild the industrial commons.  Industrial commons are the foundation of innovation by providing competitiveness, R&D know-how, advanced processing developments, and manufacturing and engineering skills related to that particular industry.  They are vital to the economic growth and competitive advantage U.S. companies need in today’s global market.

The decline in these commons existence is largely due to companies outsourcing development and manufacturing work abroad.  Without these resources, the U.S. is losing the knowledge base, skilled people, and suppliers needed to manufacture many of the cutting-edge products it invented.  Not only that, but the capability to produce new high-tech products is rapidly diminishing.

“For example, nearly every U.S. brand of notebook computer, except Apple, is now designed in Asia, and the same is true for most cell phone and many other hand-held electronic devices.”

The article suggests government intervention, not in the sense of bailouts, but to grow its funding support of basic and applied scientific research that allows the commons to prosper.  These commons provide companies the capabilities to share and fuel ideas off of one another and bring enormous competitive advantages to those who reside in the commons.

“…It is in the interests of Washington and all companies that operate in the U.S. to work together to reinvigorate the country’s industrial commons.  Washington’s interest is obvious: to revitalize the all-import high-tech sector.  Why should companies care?  America is an important market.  If a company, regardless of its nationality, is a player there, building or sustaining local capabilities is in its interest.  Beyond that, a commons, regardless of where in the world it’s located, can be a source of long-term competitive advantage for all its members.”

For the full article, please visit hbr.org.