Like Herding Cats? The National Network for Manufacturing Innovation

Fatima WeathersThe Administration’s proposed establishment of a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) is attracting global attention.

Whether one is for or against the use of taxpayer’s dollars for the NNMI, the idea is a compelling one.  If funded, $1 billion will be available from participating federal agencies with at least an equal amount coming from the private sector to establish regional centers of innovation.  The selected centers must form collaborative partnerships with industry, academia, research institutions and federal laboratories.

Critical to the success of these collaborations is a workable management system that can effectively harness and leveraged the intellect contained within the partnering institutions—the image of herding cats comes to mind.

Of the dozens of proposals submitted to establish the first pilot Center, there are two proposals pending from Ohio.  If either proposal is awarded, all eyes will look to Ohio on how to “herd cats” in a formation that results in commercializing innovative ideas through leveraging technology that clearly marks Ohio as a leader in advanced manufacturing.

More background on NNMI:

President Obama to Announce New Efforts to Support Manufacturing Innovation, Encourage Insourcing, Press Release, White House Press Office, March 9, 2012
The President will announce a new proposal for a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, to build a network of up to fifteen Institutes for Manufacturing Innovation around the country, serving as regional hubs of manufacturing excellence that will help to make our manufacturers more competitive and encourage investment in the United States. The President’s Budget proposes a $1 billion investment to create this new National Network for Manufacturing Innovation.

President Obama Speaks on Manufacturing, Video, White House Press Office, March 9, 2012
President Obama speaks at a Rolls-Royce jet engine manufacturing plant about the importance of a strong American manufacturing industry that creates good jobs for workers making products that can be sold all over the world.

On a lighter note, my “herding cats” metaphor brings to mind a wonderful Super Bowl commercial of a few years ago. Enjoy!

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