The inaugural manufacturing innovation conference, named mfgCON 2015, is underway in the state’s capital and professionals from world-class companies are in attendance. Devoted to manufacturing innovation, the conference is two packed days of presentations and break out sessions designed to share the newest ideas, tools, and resources for promoting innovation in the state. A product of the North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NCMEP), mfgCon 2015 is hosted at North Carolina State University’s McKimmon Center.
Presentations are organized around main tracks including: developing markets, actionable ideas for improvement, emerging technologies/trends in manufacturing, workforce development, and sustainability. As part of the conference, Lukas Brun, senior research analyst at SSRI affiliate the Center on Globalization, Governance & Competitiveness (CGGC) presented yesterday on North Carolina in the Global Economy.
“I was so pleased to be asked by the conference organizers to present the Center’s work on how value chain analysis is relevant to core economic development questions facing North Carolina,” Brun says. “The venue provided an opportunity to highlight the student-led North Carolina in the Global Economy website, developed by Stacey Frederick and Gary Gereffi in 2006, which was updated as part of a Bass Connections EHD project.”
The presentation was timely, with Brun applying the global value chain framework to the furniture industry as the High Point Furniture Market, the largest trade show of its kind worldwide, is also underway in the state. By providing this example of the type of analysis CGGC can offer, Brun offered a highly relevant example of how academia and industry intersect.
Highlighting the involvement of professionals who, like him, are outside the traditional parameters of the manufacturing industry, Brun’s excitement for the venture and its potential to expose others to CGGC’s work is clear. “In my experience it’s rare for industry, education, and government to discuss the challenges and opportunities of manufacturing in a region. It speaks volumes about the foresight of the conference organizers to seek cross-industry and cross-sectoral dialogue in this regard. It’s also exciting to highlight the fruits of our Center’s labor in applying academic research to global development questions.”
When asked about the importance of GVC analysis for North Carolina’s manufacturing industry, Brun is enthusiastic. “I think it’s a perfect example of how academic frameworks can be applied to address problems facing policymakers, educators and industry, and embodies Duke’s continuing commitment to knowledge in the service of society.”