Looking for a Good Read Over Holiday Break? Try “Making in America: From Innovation to Market”

As the fall semester comes to a close for high school and college students, one thing that most everyone will have towards the end of this month and into next is time–and lots of it.

And sure, you could spend your holiday break playing Xbox, watching movies, and sitting around the fireplace (and we certainly don’t see anything wrong with any of those things–it is a break from school, after all), but all of the time most students will have lends itself well to doing some reading, too.

So for anyone looking for something to read over this holiday break, we have a great suggestion (that’s manufacturing related, of course). It’s called Making In America: From Innovation to Market, and it gives a great, detailed run-down of why manufacturing is so important to innovation in our country.

For some time now, MIT (you may remember them from their recent acceptance of maker portfolios in college applications) has been very interested in determining what forces make our economy tick. Part of that search naturally led them to manufacturing, which is a large part of the focus of the book we’re discussing here.

Although we won’t spoil too much of the book for you, we can tell you one point that is hit on regularly throughout the book–that offshoring our manufacturing has “crippled America’s innovation engine.” Innovation is directly tied into manufacturing capability–and to an ‘ecosystem’ which provides the backbone for bringing new products to the market–and that type of innovation doesn’t happen without production happening within our own country.

And even if you don’t feel like reading a whole book over break (we were students once, too), we do at least recommend giving this interview a read. It’s with¬†Martin Schmidt, MIT professor, Associate Provost and director of the Task Force on Production in the Innovation Economy, and in it, they discuss this “innovation machine” that’s so critical to economic success. It’s a much shorter read than the book we’re recommending here, but gives valuable insight into many of the same issues.

Although these topics may seem uninteresting at first glance, in reality, the constant discussion taking place with MIT and others is absolutely fascinating. If you’re considering a career in manufacturing, it’s absolutely valuable to understand the current state of manufacturing, and how innovation affects national economic success.

We need young innovators in all industries–but especially in manufacturing–and there’s no better time than now to get involved! So get out there and start learning–it may seem like a pain now, but the results will be well worth it in the end.

Photo credit: MIT