Can We Bring Back the “Industrial Commons” for Manufacturing?

Summing Up: Does the US have the political will or educational ability to remake its manufacturing sector on the back of an 'industrial commons?' Professor Jim Heskett's readers are dubious.
by James Heskett

Summing Up

Where Is the Leadership Necessary to Regenerate the "Industrial Commons"

In their book Producing Prosperity, Gary Pisano and Willy Shih pointed to the lack of long-term thinking and investment as well as education necessary to rejuvenate an "industrial commons" in the US. A "commons" fosters the process-oriented innovation that in turn contributes to the vitality of the industrial sector and the health of the economy.

Respondents to this month's column were somewhat pessimistic that such resources could be found or developed.

Marco Sormani commented, "Where was (the) … support for manufacturing when it really counted, before much of it escaped offshore? … Why should we believe this 'new thinking' now?" Citing "… high labor costs and uncooperative unions," Philippe Gouamba pointed to its failing educational system as a reason the US has fallen behind in the competition for a share of the "commons." Peter Sebregondi commented that "companies aim to have the least possible ownership of the capital or assets involved in the value chain," but points out that they "went a little bit too far, and entire nations are now suffering."

There was little agreement over how these barriers might be addressed. While suggesting "less and not more help from government," Doug Elliott nevertheless reminded us that many of those workers and managers essential to the rebirth of the "commons" may be "found mostly in state and community colleges and not so much in the Ivy leagues." But Hugh Quick commented, "Beware of government interference with schools."

One positive example put forward was that of Germany. Bob Houck reminded us that industrial jobs still constitute "over 20% in Germany and at good wages." Peter Sebregondi said that "the German government, companies and unions TOGETHER have defended the German Industrial Commons" in response to pressure from globalization and EU East expansion." But Bob Houck reminded us that "… this doesn't mean the US can follow this model."

Yadeed Lobo was more optimistic. As he put it, "The United States is good at achieving turnarounds…" But he warned that "the biggest obstacle will be organizational and managerial insecurities," the lack of "strong leaders who are confident and determined" to add to the near-term cost base for the long-term benefit of the organization. Byron also took leadership to task, pointing out the lack of "deep knowledge of production, products, and culture" necessary for the task, while saying that "I don't think most of management is willing to … take the long view."

These last comments provided a good lead-in to the question posed by Jay Somasundaram: "What types of leadership do we want most?" Where do we find such leaders? How do we develop them? Where is the leadership necessary to regenerate the "industrial commons"? What do you think?

Original Article

A new book, Producing Prosperity , by profs. Gary Pisano and Willy Shih, argues that a manufacturing renaissance is critical to the process-oriented innovation that has contributed to the worldwide dominance of the US economy. The argument presumably extends as well to other countries with developed economies.

Pisano and Shih maintain that their proposals are intended to encourage the regeneration of the "industrial commons"∼the "R&D and manufacturing infrastructure, know-how, process-development skills, and engineering capabilities"∼resulting from the clustering of universities, suppliers, and manufacturers in industries such as biotechnology, electronic components, and semiconductors in which rapidly-developing innovations in processes and process technologies are taking place.

They are many of the same industries in which constant interaction between R&D and manufacturing are most important, industries where the outsourcing of manufacturing to another country can not only prove to be destructive to the innovative process but to the industrial commons as well. It can lead to the demise of entire industries.

Note that Pisano and Shih are not calling for the return to the US of jobs in mature industries or those in which product innovation can be separated from manufacturing. Nor are they claiming that this will create many new jobs, since (1) manufacturing will probably never again amount to more than about 10 percent of total employment in any of the world's developed economies and (2) the return of manufacturing activity to the US will have to be accompanied by increased productivity, probably through investments in technology that eliminates jobs.

Their argument is more basic. It is that the innovative capabilities critical to maintaining industrial leadership are being threatened and need defending.

Rebuilding the industrial commons will, they argue, require efforts by both government and management. Government will contribute by providing support for the educational system, with incentives to encourage advanced study in engineering as well as information and manufacturing-related technologies. In addition, they call for a national economic strategy for manufacturing, with an emphasis not on "picking winners" among companies or even industries, but on providing support for basic process-oriented innovation that can be utilized by competing companies in several industries.

Managers who understand the importance of competing through innovation will fare best in the future Pisano and Shih envision. This means such things as:

  • Making capability enhancement "an explicit goal in the strategy process."
  • Including executives with deep knowledge of such things as "the company's technology, operating processes, culture on the shop floor, and supplier network" in the strategy-making process.
  • Adopting a "dynamic perspective" that emphasizes cumulative investments over relatively long periods of time.
  • Recognizing that instead of evaluating investments in R&D or new factories on a purely short-term financial basis, that the math of location decisions take account of the impact on process-oriented innovation as well. They admit that in this day of short-term, transaction-oriented management, this is a tall order.

This leaves us with some questions: How realistic is the thesis that Pisano and Shih advance? Where is it most likely to succeed? To fail? What can be done to mitigate the possibilities for failure? Can we bring back the "industrial commons" critical to manufacturing? What do you think?

To Read More:

Gary P. Pisano and Willy C. Shih, Producing Prosperity: Why America Needs a Manufacturing Renaissance , Harvard Business Review Press, 2012.

    • Jim Peers MBA '51
    • retired
    Our young people are growing up in the Information Age, but their education is shortchanging them on the k-12 math and sciences they will need to work effectively at higher levels. because, their parents and educators still think and talk Industrial AGE. Until education and manufacturing move into the Information Age - the hundreds of thousand of smaller enterprises we need - will not percolate in our economy. As our numbers show - we ain't goin' nowhere fast!
    • Anonymous
    There are 3 streams of innovation broadly in my view - especially as relevant to manufaturing sector :
    1. product innovation - from customer centric perspective (apple iphone / etc..)
    2. product innovation - technology centric (a real viable elecrtic automobile; a new green jet engine, bio-electronics, etc...)
    3. process innovation - manufacturing tech centric...

    the last will happen where manufacturing actuall happens and will therefore be outside the US practically speaking..

    Even the 2nd option will be driven as much by the manufacturing process (since investment in technology atleast from the private sector will be driven by presence of manufacturing concerns and enterprises)

    Only the 1st remains - and will be based on the 300 mill pop US market - compared to the 500 mill pop W.EU markets; the 1.5 Bn pop Chinese market and the 4 Bn pop rest of Emerging markets.. - To the extent that US culture and taste leads the upmarket world, potentially for another decade or max two, this first option will be there for the US to squeeze. But post 2025, doubt US will be anything better than UK of 1890s... - one more empire gone to seed.. - like it or lump it, you might as well start righting the book about the rise and fall of pax americana...
    • Rob Houck
    • Partner, Eaton + Van Winkle
    Over 20% in Germany and at good wages. But this doesn't mean the US can follow this model.
    • bryon
    • MS, MBA
    Perhaps possible, but there will need to be major changes beyond those outlined. I believe the government/education function is already there and available. The key question is how to encourage, entice, and otherwise place more individuals in the track.

    I believe this will also take a major change in the views of management and management structure. In the current management climate, how many individuals actually have the deep knowledge of production, products, and culture?

    With so much of management moving around (hopefully for all the right reasons) management doesn't really have a good handle on the nuts and bolts of the business.

    Related to this is the willingness to take criticism for the investments in R&D, the future, and willingness to take the long view. I don't think most of management is willing to do that. While studying for my MBA, I was very much in the minority for advocating fewer payouts in terms of dividends/payments/etc. to allow the business it invest in itself. (what should the firm really worry about?)

    Summing up, I think it is realistic and workable; but will require a serious change in the views of management and their willingness to weather short term pain for long term gain.

    • marco sormani
    Not too long ago, HBS was heralding all of the advantages of the "service economy"; let the rest of the world produce the goods while "we" deliver services, particularly financial services. Now the truth is laid bare; HBS was wrong then and still gets it wrong today by touting the "efficiencies" of Wall Street. Where was this support for manufacturing when it really counted, before much of it escaped offshore? When I went to work in manufacturing after graduation I was called a dinosaur. Why should we believe this "new thinking" now?
    • Sergio Perez
    • Sr. Director Business Development, Skyline Solar
    For most of the last century we took the 'industrial commons' for granted and failed to do the right level of investments to keep it competitive. Focusing on the critical 'industrial commons' ecosystem is the most cost effective and powerful way to regain competitiveness. Our ecosystem is mostly in good shape but it needs to be updated to the current global and technological reality.
    • Kapil Kumar Sopory
    • Company Secretary, SMEC(India) Private Limited
    Manufacturing activity gets refined and fine-tuned to meet customers' anticipated needs and choices. For bringing about improvements/changes in the end product, R&D and innovation are important. People do not go blindly for purchasing/acquiring the products and they consider many factors which need to be anticipated through surveys and direct/indirect interactions to know what their real need is. Hence the necessity of indepth research.
    • Doug Elliott
    • Principal, D. Elliott & Associates
    I believe that manufacturing is a key to rebuilding the US economy. I also believe that less and not more help from government and big business will be critical to the success of manufacturing part 2.

    This is a vocational, not an intellectual crisis. Making things is a hand's on experience even if you are using machines as the intermediary to the making. It is experiential and thrives better with apprenticeship methods than with computerized instruction. It is a kind of innovation that does better with less not more because want sharpens the focus and desire for things versus concepts.

    It requires the sweat and dirt and stink of a shop floor to frame the manufactured object in the mind's eye, to move the hand and body to the process that makes the thing. You need a mastery of fifth grade math not second year calculus to make things.

    The skill sets for manufacturing can't be discerned from ACT or SAT scores. The Americans that will make the best manufacturers most likely have blue collar roots with the genes of second generation craftsmen.

    You can still find them in the burnt out city shells from Pittsburgh and Cleveland and Detroit to Milwaukee and St. Louis and south to the Galveston shipyards and Birmingham. The ones that go to college are found mostly in state and community colleges and not so much in the Ivy leagues.

    The word 'renaissance' is probably not in the vocabulary of this emergent American workforce. If you want them to succeed, simplify the regulations and bureaucracy of the government. Keep the corporate experts and private equity at bay. In the wake of the economic carnage of these many past years, this breed of new manufacturer is like a grass that will cover all. Just let them work.
    • Tom Dolembo
    • Founder, New North Institute
    The manufacturing culture in the US is operated short term, that you address. But deeper, the culture of making, of creating new things from new ideas, is a cottage art, not part of the mainstream. Greed is implicit after the first successes, the quick buck investment apparatus takes control early on and the cadre who created the initial success is ground like raw meat in the same old funding grinder.

    If the dynamic commons is to work, it has to have a funding apparatus as innovative. Dynamic commons success in a greed driven environment (turn and burn) is impossible. Serendipity in a commons is the powerful thing, ideas build and mesh and collide. But that is very hard to fund. I might suggest an "early in almost never out fund", where investments are rewarded based on time invested as well as profit (if any) returned (yes, this is a Ponzi Scheme/Chain Letter of sorts). New investment pays some into old, a kind of idea annuity fund guaranteed value regardless of current profitability. Crazy, perhaps. But the key to the dynamics is the persistence and reinvestment, not just the output, of capital returns. Early in and kept in, most out eventually regardless. Huge exit returns eventually even everybody up (or not). Greed is logical, insanity is reasonable, persistence wins.
    • Bengt Skarstam
    • Senior Adviser, Reshape AB
    This is on the spot of the industrial heart! Can we build on personal responsibility i.e. be the voice of the stakeholders when we are fragmenting our industries in the name of "if the parts are efficient the sum must be even more efficient"? What I am proposing is to foster a real stakeholder view when we split up our companies; get a win win situation! Outsourcing without a real stakeholder engagement might be a safe road to destruction....?
    • Caleb Sodipo
    • Chief Executive, SMG Corporation (A Start -Up Manufacturing Corporation)
    Your comments, I find, are completely & accurately precise to the Manufacturing Industry. Being an Industrial/Manufacturing Engineer myself, I find that not only is the art (or major) highly unpopular in the Ivory Tower, it is not being given enough support by the Government after graduation. We understand that in a political climate where manufacturing jobs may not only seal the seat in the White House, but elevate the people to a level of admonition for the prevailing government we (the Industry Insiders) need the Government to stand up & understand that they are the major muscle in transmigrating the current state of the manufacturing industry to a significantly progressed place, where the question is not the availability of manufacturing jobs, but the training of professionals for the overwhelming myriad of positions available to be filled. They can do this by having a government-thrusted focus on the Industrial communi
    ty (Institute of Industrial Engineers and so on...) to have a focus on entrepreneurism and hold back not from financing, with a focus on job creation. I find myself in this exact position & the difference between this & regular entrepreneurism is the high focus on job creation.
    • Ravindra Edirisooriya
    • Accountant 10/16/12, Midwestern Small Business
    Professor Heskett's question of bringing back (in US, other developed countries or perhaps in developing countries) "Industrial Commons" for manufacturing is important if it can shore up the manufacturing concerns. Manufacturing technology can evolve by process improvement, process reengineering, or process "leap-fogging" innovation. Competitive advantages gained through advancements in manufacturing technology is what make concerns profitable and it is not by fancy financial engineering, corporate raiding, tax breaks and deregulation (the easy way-out which does not care for the users or the environment - it could trigger a race to the bottom effect and dire consequences in the next 15/25/50 years well beyond the current two terms of the US president).

    During the industrial economy, each small/medium/large machine/design/widget "shop" had its (mostly local/regional/national/international) markets and its (specialized) internal "Industrial Commons" (some R&D, know-how, process-development skills, and engineering capabilities/infrastructure) to serve its markets. External "Industrial Commons": transportation (railroads, highways, interstate, airways, airports, shipping lanes, and seaports), communication (telegraph, telephone, internet, cell phones, and networks), raw material manufacturers and part suppliers and local/regional/national financiers were accessible to all concerns. In the 20th century, manufacturing technology evolved at a very slow pace and generation upon generation took up similar work/jobs. In these manufacturing industries process improvement or reengineering is intertwined with manufacturing technology. In the 21st century, the process "leap-fogging" innovation
    can create a competitive advantage in manufacturing technology and retain some of the old manufacturing concerns in the US or any other developed (or developing) country if the country can achieve the most cost effective process "leap-fogging" innovations. However, it is very unlikely to be intertwined with the old manufacturing technology and therefore it is not what professors Pisano and Shih are trying to shore up through bringing back the "industrial commons" for manufacturing. With respect to US, the question is for the cost of establishing a base of industrial commons, how many old manufacturing concerns could be retained in the country? My estimate is not many old 20th century manufacturing concerns could be retained by establishing a base of industrial commons which may not be cost effective. It is akin to trying to live in the past or looking backwards.

    Now fast forward to today's knowledge economy with cutting-edge industries in biotechnology, space technology, digital technology, computer (hardware and software) technology, energy generation/storage technology, communication technology, applied materials technology and AI technology (robotics). New manufacturing technology evolves at a very fast pace: old inefficient processes/jobs become obsolete faster and new efficient processes/jobs appear also faster. In order to have a competitive advantage, concerns in cutting edge industries need to have ownership of process knowledge and process leap-fogging innovations through patents (some proprietary internal "Industrial Commons"), and seek government assistance in workforce education and retraining, basic R&D through university clusters and information security (external "Industrial Commons"). What we need is to look forward to the future and invest in external industrial commons such as clusters of uni
    versities that create new cutting edge basic knowledge for the 21st century. Hence, "Industrial Commons" for shoring up manufacturing industries is important for 21st century manufacturing concerns but not for 20th century manufacturing concerns in the USA.

    What would be the fate of workers who are displaced by more intelligent/advanced manufacturing technologies or not capable of being retrained for new cutting edge jobs? Do they (perhaps some of the 47%) have a place in our economic model? Are we human enough?
    • Philippe Gouamba
    • Vice President of Human Resources, Skyline Windows, LLC
    The thesis that Pisano and Shih advance is realistic and very sound and can succeed but I am not sure it will succeed in the United States. It is most likely to succeed in countries that have world class education such as Japan and India. We are behind and falling further behind on that score. In addition to educational strength, we would need manufacturing strength. We do not have that either as we have outsourced too many high tech manufacturing jobs and guess what? They are not coming back! Is Apple ready and willing to manufacture in the US? NO! How many American companies that manufacture in Mexico, China or the Philippines are making plans to move their manufacturing back to US soil? NONE! QED. Between extremely high labor costs and uncooperative unions, the US cannot compete on the global stage as far as manufacturing is concerned. Sure we would like to but the reality is otherwise.
    If nothing drastic is done, failure is assured. We have to rebuild high technology based manufacturing in this country but that will not happen if education lags. Here is the truth of it: only when the US can surpass the educational pace and brain power of nations such as Japan and India and combine that with low wages, then and only then will high-tech manufacturing return and grow in the US. For now, high tech manufacturing on US soil will remain an unobtainable dream.
    "Industrial commons" here in the US? Possibly, but only on a very small scale.
    • Cheri Thomas
    Living as I do in the foothills of the Appalachians, I am acutely aware of the need for manufacturing jobs. We have 300 million people in this country, and all of them need a means of support. The Great Recession has made us acutely aware (again) that without jobs there is no demand, and without demand there is no opportunity for business. The concept of Commons is more inclusive and humanitarian than just a concentration of know-how that adds to profitability.
    • Anonymous
    Four things highlighted by Pisano and Shih shall be backed by practical education and professional growth of individuals on the basis of hard earned experience (not just number of years passed/ or fancy degrees earned right at universities successful in marketing their placements). Leaders need to exhibit in their own behaviour humility, perseverance, respect, action and knowledge for the tasks, long before they become leaders of those directed.
    Getting higher positions on the basis of world political and military dominance of developed countries may disillusion them to keep the vision clear. Probably this has lead to pseudo-sustainability protocols to control practical leaders from developing economies to get more practical and fit in simpler challenges than those posed by other international trade and technology caps by developed nations.
    At last we just need to identify that people to stay among people cannot be people averse. We cannot keep innovating technologies to stop people earning from each other by their material and intellectual efforts. If the thesis carries its work further, it may arrive at similar conclusion which may demand the change of school of thought, change is world politics and bringing down the fear of developed nations by those developing or once highly developed like China and India. The success and failure of this thesis may totally depend on the work it may carry due to its received ideas in the form of comments. It may hardly influence the US due to its deep insecurities and high energy dose.

    Thank you.
    • Yadeed Lobo
    I think it is possible.

    The United States is good at achieving turnarounds.

    Similar proposals have been advanced by Fareed Zakaria and Vivek Wadhwa especially the emphasis on investments in STEM ( Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics fields) education.

    However, the key thing is recalibrating the mind sets of managers.

    The biggest obstacle will be organisational and managerial insecurities. Especially about cost structures and management restructures.If this change were seen to be adding to the cost base ( like most long term R&D investments or capability enhancement) the resistance to change will be insurmountable.

    That's where the temperament of strong leaders who are confident and determined to execute on the change will come into play.
    • Jay Somasundaram
    • Systems Analyst
    Perhaps we should start with broader questions: 1) What types of leadership do we want most; 2) is industrial leadership one of them, and if not does it promote or constrain one we want?
    • Peter Sebregondi
    Just look at the 2011 international comparison of labor cost in manufacturing, published Oct 3, 2012 by the German Cologne Institute for Economic Research:
    Although Manufacturing counts for 21% of German GDP, German average manufacturing labor cost per hour was ? 35.66.
    The cost in the U.S. was much lower at ? 23.81 per hour. However, "Made-in-Germany" is very innovative and competitive, thus allowing for relatively high wages. Highly profitable exports are pulling the standard of living of the whole country up. Over the last 15 years under huge pressure from globalization and EU East expansion, the German government, companies and unions TOGETHER have defended the German Industrial Commons (which was built over the last 200 years). It payed off.

    Only Norway ? 52.61, Switzerland ? 44.96, Belgium ? 40.66, Sweden ? 40.46, Denmark ? 37.64, and France ? 35.91 had higher cost per hour in 2011.

    Some other cost points: Japan ? 27.46, Italy ? 26.45, UK 23.12, Spain ? 21.88, Greece ? 15.85, South Korea ? 15,34, Portugal ? 10.40, Poland ? 6.46, Russia ? 5.10, China ? 3.17.

    You can find the pdf report in German language at
    The author's Website:
    See pdf on page 6, published Oct 3, 2012.
    • Saurabh Dwivedy
    • Additional General Manager, (n)Code Solutions - IT division of GNFC
    Some of the comments are really incisive and insightful (Marco Sormani's for instance). I am inclined to pose a few questions: To what end all the manufacturing and services are directed? The Customers. Where are the Customers? Internationally spread out. What's the speed of communication now than it was a 100 years ago? An order of magnitude faster. Is the Customer of today in any way similar to the Customer of yesterday - in terms of purchasing power, knowledge and so on? Not at all. So what are we talking about?

    The world has changed and will need newer ways of interacting with the stakeholders. The stakeholders will perhaps not change much, but the fabric of interaction will. Resource (Knowledge, Engineering Capabilities, R&D etc.) accretion within the limited ambits of the frontiers of an economy/country sound anachronistic to me. I am not challenging the concept of Industrial Commons - only that its topology will inevitably be far more complex than envisaged by the Authors.
    • Shaiful
    • Apex Trading
    It is wishful thinking that US to make manufacturing a industrial common. Information age has turned the table 17th century in which US and Europe had started the industrial revolution. But maybe industrial common has become reality when common people start their workshop backyard due to information technology proliferation.

    I think this is reality of industrial common. Let it be so.
    • Peter Sebregondi
    One other key factor responsible for the current manufacturing and innovation challenges particularly in U.S. and Britain is that companies aim to have the least possible ownership of the capital or assets involved in the value chain. At the surface, this reduces the need for equity, improves short-term the return on equity and provides stellar CEO bonuses. And to some degree this provides flexibility to companies in cyclical industries, if they truly understand where their long-term wealth creators are. But in a climate that only focused on financial services for quite a while, like Lemmings they went a little bit too far, and entire nations are now suffering.
    • Anonymous
    Where did the industrial commons come from in the first place? Was it the leftover dregs of the 18th century blacksmiths shops and other trades which slowly whithered? Was it the outgrowth of retirements and ageing out of the great manufacturing companies, where people left the companies but still had the skills and years more life in them? Was it the support companies for aerospace development?

    When I started my company near Boston there were two or three machine shops in every town, run by skilled old timers. The cross cut wood floors in the old mill buildings were soaked with cutting fluid and grease. Those buildings are now condos.

    When I moved my company to the DC area, there were no small family machine shops to be found. The agricultural base did not historically develop the infrastructure. I still use the New England manufacturing base, and add a little for UPS.
    • Hugh Quick
    • home, none
    Beware of government interference with schools. Schools should be run by teachers who know how difficult teaching can be.
    • shadreck saili
    • UCT
    Certainly it sounds a way to go and a good strategy to assist reposition the USA manufacturing sector. Undoubtedly, the USA manufacturing Niche had slackened over the years and its weaknesses seem to have contributed to development of the now domineering manufacturing niche of Asia that has had great influence on USA and other world economies.

    If not strategic , before we know it, the world will be economically clustered in continents (world Blocs) and make it difficulty for a particular nation to cluster its own economy.
    • Kumara Uluwatta
    • Senior Lecturer in management Accounting, Wayamba University of Sri Lanka
    Lack of Innovations in education, specially in higher education leads to poor infrastructure for innovations in industries. On the other hand highly educated people are not welcome to and not acquiring their knowledge for industrial sector. Government should and must have right measures to get the contribution of innovators to up lift the economy while developing industrial sector with innovations.
    • K. (Subbu) Subramanian
    • President, STIMS Institute
    In such discussion on "manufacturing", we assume that the words or phrases used are clear and mean the same to every one. Yet, with out such common language, much of the discussions leads to nothing tangible, while the manufacturing base of the industry continues to decline :-(
    What is "manufacturing"? It is a collection of Physical Processes and a collection of non-physical or service processes.
    "Manufacturing" is also the repetive use of such collection of processes to achieve the output (Product, Process or Application/Use) at the required quantity, place and time.
    Let us focus only on the first half of this definition - physical and service processes and their role in manufacturing:
    The service processes are rich with information processes (collection, dissemination, data processing, analysis and decision making). The "Industrial Commons" of service processes are the standardized IT platforms, applicable and usable across many companies and industries. They have been standardized and exploited relentlessly in the past three to four decades. They will continue to be further harvested, thus increasing manufacturing productivity. This will also lead to job-less recovery in the manufacturing sector.
    The physical processes also create "Industrial commons", which are applicable across many companies and industries. As an example, the physical process of generating surfaces using abrasive tools - the grinding processes - and the science and engineering behind them can be seamlessly applied across many industries (Steel mfg., automotive, aerospace, industrial components, semi conductor manufacturing, optics, bio-medical tools and instruments, LED, PV Solar, etc.) and for a wide variety of needs. It is the science and engineering of such physical processes and their exploitation as "Industrial commons", which have been forsaken, underutilized and in many cases lost in the past three to four decades (where the short term quick benefits of productivity gains though IT driven platforms have overshadowed the potential benefits from Physical Process based industrial commons.
    To suggest that these physical processes based industrial commons and their education reside in Community Colleges is another misunderstanding. Their engineering practices as we know of them today may reside in the Community colleges. But understanding the science and new strategic pathways to exploit them will have to come from commitment and effort from higher level schools of learning.
    For more details, see: Transformational Skills for Technical Professionals --- ASME Press.