Old Economy-New Economy & Innovation in CLEVELAND

Submitted by John Colm on Wed, 02/08/2006 - 21:48.

MIND (Manufacturing Innovation for the Next Decade)  

MIND is a unique project developed by WIRE-Net, a private, non-profit economic development organization in Cleveland, aimed at helping leaders of existing manufacturing businesses learn about and implement Total Innovation:  product, people and process improvement.  The need for manufacturing innovation is clear.   The leaps companies make through innovation improve profitability, fortify the local economy, and energize future growth.  MIND I began the journey with an emphasis on product and market innovation.   Phase II of the exclusive MIND experience began in September 2005 with new topics and issues guided by members of the group.  Key elements include:


Small, interactive, collaborative group(s), with opportunities for plant tours, and regional best practice expertise delivered on topics of interest.

Topics Include:

Culture Cultivation, Lean Product Development, Knowledge Management, Service Innovation:  Best Practices in Customer Service, Engineering, Quotations, Accounting, and more . . .


MIND II members have the option to create and join in a practical experience inside the structure of a member company with the goal of providing an innovation experience for the group plus help to a ‘living’ company.

The MIND experience began with a Learners Group comprised of business leaders from seven manufacturing companies who were committed to exploring aspects of manufacturing innovation in an organized process facilitated by WIRE-Net.  This group wanted to explore key issues including identifying and understanding company core competencies; the stage gate process; innovating with the customer; and managing evolution. This process led to them to incorporate into their company business practices many of the ideas they learned in MIND. Typical results from their efforts have led companies to develop and manufacture new products, create new marketing and/or distribution channels, or a combination of all three.  Some of the new projects were a direct result of participation in the MIND program; others were made possible through the on-going reinforced discipline of consistently making time for innovation. WIRE-Net estimates that the roughly 600 jobs at these 7 “early adopter” companies reflect: 

  • Estimated Annual Payroll Impact:  $23 million.  As each payroll dollar turns over in the local economy, an additional indirect economic impact of over $14 million is generated.

  • Retail Impact:  The 600 jobs among the MIND pilot group support 44 retail establishments in the region and $9 million in annual retail sales.

  • Employment Impact:  The MIND pilot firms support 398 non-manufacturing jobs in wholesale, retail, finance, construction and the public sector, for a total employment impact of approximately 1,000 jobs in the region.

Development of the MIND Program has been made possible due to support from Charter OneCleveland, Gund, HCS, 1525, and Generation foundations.

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