Domestic manufacturing and technical innovation are much more closely linked than many thought they were.
experts say that in industries that produce complex, high-technology products — things like bioengineered tissues, not light bulbs — companies that keep their research and manufacturing employees close together might be more innovative than businesses that develop a schematic and send it overseas for low-wage workers to make. Moreover, clusters of manufacturers, where workers and ideas can naturally flow between companies, might prove more productive and innovative than the same businesses if they were spread across the country.
The idea is to knit together manufacturing, design, prototyping and production
Economists said that while the link between making and innovating within individual businesses was not yet well established, the link between making and innovating between different companies was.
It is what they call a “spillover” effect: manufacturing companies near one another create a kind of commons. Workers exchange ideas over drinks and at baseball games. They switch jobs, taking their knowledge with them. They draw other companies, who compete to offer them goods and services. It all adds up to a more productive, more innovative economy.
NYTimes: High-Tech Factories Built to Be Engines of Innovation http://nyti.ms/SlnXky