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Producing Prosperity: Why America Needs a Manufacturing Renaissance

Manufacturing’s central role in global innovation

imageIn Producing Prosperity, Harvard Business School professors Gary Pisano and Willy Shih show the disastrous consequences of years of poor sourcing decisions and underinvestment in manufacturing capabilities. They reveal how today’s undervalued manufacturing operations often hold the seeds of tomorrow’s innovative new products, arguing that companies must reinvest in new product and process development in the US industrial sector. Only by reviving this “industrial commons” can the world’s largest economy build the expertise and manufacturing muscle to regain competitive advantage. America needs a manufacturing renaissance—for restoring itself, and for the global economy as a whole.

For executives, policymakers, academics, and innovators alike, Producing Prosperity provides the clearest and most compelling account yet of how the American economy lost its competitive edge—and how to get it back.


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Video: Gary Pisano on "Producing Prosperity"


By Gary Pisano
Harvard Business School Press, November 2006

imageWhy has the biotechnology industry failed to perform up to expectations despite all its promise? In Science Business, Professor Gary Pisano answers this question by providing an incisive critique of the industry. Pisano not only reveals the underlying causes of biotech's problems; he offers the most sophisticated analysis yet on how the industry works. And he provides clear prescriptions for companies, investors, and policymakers seeking ways to improve the industry's performance. The payoff? Valuable improvements in health care and a shinier future for human well-being.

“A very insightful analysis of the remarkable evolution of the biotech industry. This is required reading for all involved in this process – biotechnology entrepreneurs, venture capitalist, academics, research centers, policymakers, and investors.”
HENRY TERMEER, Chairman, President and CEO, Genzyme Corporation

“In this starting and cogent diagnosis of, and prognosis for, the biotechnology industry, Gary Pisano weaves a powerful economic argument that all is not well in biotechnology, an industry that should be the best hope for better health care for us all. We in the industry need to better grapple with the challenge posed by this provocative book”
DR. JOSH BOGER, President and CEO, Vertex Pharmaceuticals

“Gary Pisano’s analysis uncovers surprising facts about the industry’s innovation power and productivity, challenging conventional wisdom. Science Business is refreshing and inspiring for anyone who is interested in the future success of biotechnology, including life science executives, investors, policy makers, and, most importantly, the patients whom it has the potential to help the most.”
DR. DANIEL VASELLA, Chairman and CEO, Novartis AG


By Gary Pisano and Willy Shih
Harvard Business Review, July-August 2009
Winner of the McKinsey Award 2009

imageFor decades, U.S. companies have been outsourcing manufacturing in the belief that it held no competitive advantage. That’s been a disaster, maintain Harvard professors Pisano and Shih, because today’s low-value manufacturing operations hold the seeds of tomorrow’s innovative new products.

What those companies have been ceding is the country’s industrial commons—that is, the collective operational capabilities that underpin new product and process development in the U.S. industrial sector. As a result, America has lost not only the ability to develop and manufacture high-tech products like televisions, memory chips, and laptops but also the expertise to produce emerging hot products like the Kindle e-reader, high-end servers, solar panels, and the batteries that will power the next generation of automobiles.

To rebuild the commons and restore its wealth-generating machine will require government and industry in the United States to make two drastic changes.


By Gary Pisano
Harvard Business School Press, April 1996

imageGary Pisano argues that the development of distinctive and superior process technologies is a key source of competitive advantage. In a multi-year study of international pharmaceutical firms (with references to a variety of other industries), he challenges the widely held product/process life cycle view of competition, which suggests that industries tend to emphasize either product innovation or process innovation. He also offers a set of recommendations for the practices and approaches that can be used to unlock the potential of process development. In doing so, he provides a window into the more general phenomenon of how organizations create, select, and implement new capabilities.

“An excellent analysis of a critical but understudied area in pharmaceutical product development. The book convincingly demonstrates that superior process development capabilities are a strategic advantage in the race to launch new products.”
DR. DENNIS M. FENTON, Senior Vice President of Operations, Amgen Inc.

“In The Development Factory, Gary Pisano concludes that ‘high development performance is rooted in what managers do.’ The case studies, analysis, and interpretation that support this conclusion provide compelling evidence for its veracity and compelling reading, with useful insight for multinational giants as well as small start-ups.”
DR. CHRISTOPHER M. CIMARUSTI, Vice President Process Research and Development, Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceuticals Research Institute


By Gary Pisano and Roberto Verganti
Harvard Business Review, December 2008

imageCompanies are increasingly recognizing the benefits of collaborative innovation. But, when it comes to collaboration, companies face an array of choices and one size does not fit all. In this article, Pisano and Verganti provide a framework for choosing among different models of collaboration and helping companies craft collaborative innovation strategies.


By Gary Pisano and David J.Teece
California Management Review, November 2007

Capturing value from innovation requires innovators to figure out how to blunt inroads into the profit stream by imitators, customers, suppliers, and other providers of complementary products and services. In making strategic decisions around technology commercialization, managers often assume that the intellectual property environment and the architecture of the industry are beyond their control. This need not be so. Shows how managers can shape both the appropriability regime and the architecture of the industry in ways that can benefit the innovator by blunting the actions of others who may endeavor to tap into the stream of profits generated by innovation. Even small firms can play important roles. Tools include putting information into the public domain, helping to shape standards, and promoting modularity.