Is Manufacturing the Key to Innovation?

The Takeaway
The revival of American manufacturing has been a constant refrain in presidential campaigns, and 2012 is no exception. "We need a strong manufacturing base in America if we want a strong middle class in America, if we want good jobs, if we want a high standard of living," Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan said  at an October 13, 2012 rally in the old steel town of Youngstown, Ohio.    At his 2012 State of the Union Address, President Obama laid out a blueprint for the American economy, with manufacturing at its base: "We have a huge opportunity, at this moment, to bring manufacturing back. But we have to seize it," President Obama explained. He went on to say, "I want to speak about how we move forward, and lay out a blueprint for an economy that's built to last – an economy built on American manufacturing, American energy, skills for American workers, and a renewal of American values." Politicians may want to increase manufacturing jobs, to make manufacturing a cornerstone of the American economy, but, since the 1970s, business has moved in a different direction, to technology, to research and development, to a service-based economy. Does American manufacturing have a future? In a new book, "Producing Prosperity: Why America Needs a Manufacturing Renaissance,"  Harvard Business School professors Gary Pisano and Willy Shih argue that it must – and that manufacturing is the key to American innovation. Earlier this month, The Takeaway gathered  seven voters for a conversation  about the 2012 election on October 6, 2012. One of those voters,  John Rampe, is the President of Torque Transmission, a manufacturing company in Fairport Harbor, Ohio. John explains why he believes manufacturing is the key to innovation in the future, and discusses what he's hoping to hear from President Obama and Governor Romney in tonight's debate.