01 Oct 2012

Harvard Business School to Convene More Than 400 Leaders in Chicago to Discuss Paths Forward for Improving U.S. Competitiveness

Leaders from the City of Chicago, Chicago Federation of Labor, Caterpillar, GTCR and Bison Gear & Engineering will join HBS in an interactive discussion about steps that can improve the U.S. business environment for firms and workers.

CHICAGO—On Monday, October 1st, Harvard Business School (HBS) will convene Paths Forward, an event that is part of the school's U.S. Competitiveness Project. The Paths Forward event series brings together leaders in economic centers throughout the country to discuss actionable steps to improve the ability of firms operating in the U.S. to compete globally while supporting high and rising living standards for Americans.

Panelists include David P. Bozeman, Vice President/Integrated Manufacturing Operations Division, Caterpillar; Ronald Bullock, Chairman, Bison Gear & Engineering Corp.; Steven Koch, Deputy Mayor, City of Chicago; and Jorge Ramirez, President, Chicago Federation of Labor. Bruce Rauner of GTCR will host the event.

The event will also feature several HBS faculty who are contributing to the U.S. Competitiveness Project, including Michael E. Porter, Gary P. Pisano, and Jan W. Rivkin.

"The United States is facing eroding competitiveness, which began well before the great recession. This is the root cause of the pressures in jobs and standard of living that America is experiencing," said Professor Michael Porter, co-chair of the U.S. Competitiveness Project. "Rather than simply complain about what's wrong, companies are increasingly taking steps on their own to improve the U.S. business environment, whether it is through mentoring local suppliers or partnering in skill training with local educational institutions. Steps like these are not about patriotism or charity, but enabling sustained company growth and productivity."

"For the past few decades, U.S. corporations faced with fierce global competition have sent manufacturing overseas to take advantage of factors such as low-cost labor and lax regulation. The result has been a mass migration of manufacturing capabilities out of the United States, which has seriously eroded the domestic capabilities needed to turn inventions into high-quality products," said Professor Gary P. Pisano, co-author of the upcoming book Producing Prosperity: Why America Needs a Manufacturing Renaissance. "Outsourcing production has had the unintended consequences of weakening the nation's manufacturing base and undermining innovation, an important factor in maintaining global competitiveness."

Paths Forward will include a call to action for business leaders, asking them to consider ways their companies can boost the long-run productivity of their communities.

"We look forward to speaking with a diverse group of Chicago leaders about ways that business, labor, and government can work together to improve the U.S. business environment and create high-quality jobs," said Professor Jan Rivkin, co-chair of the U.S. Competitiveness Project. "Each company contributes to U.S. competitiveness by vigorously pursuing productivity in its own business. But we increasingly see cases where a company will improve U.S. competitiveness by taking actions that benefit the company itself but also raise the long-run productivity of others in its community. In Chicago, we'll explore examples of these actions and discuss how the Chicago business community can improve U.S. competitiveness."

For members of the media interested in attending this invitation-only event or receiving more information about Harvard Business School's U.S. Competitiveness Project, please contact Calley Means at 202-350-6672 or calley.means@edelman.com.

About the HBS U.S. Competitiveness Project The U.S. Competitiveness Project is a research-led effort by Harvard Business School to understand and improve the competitiveness of the United States - that is, the ability of firms operating in the U.S. to compete successfully in the global economy while supporting high and rising living standards for Americans. The Project focuses especially on the roles that business leaders do and can play in promoting U.S. competitiveness. The Project approaches current challenges to U.S. competitiveness as a matter of global concern, not just as an American issue.

Media Contacts:
Jim Aisner

Calley Means

About Harvard Business School

Founded in 1908 as part of Harvard University, Harvard Business School is located on a 40-acre campus in Boston. Its faculty of more than 250 offers full-time programs leading to the MBA and PhD degrees, as well as more than 175 Executive Education programs, and Harvard Business School Online, the School’s digital learning platform. For more than a century, faculty have drawn on their research, their experience in working with organizations worldwide, and their passion for teaching, to educate leaders who make a difference in the world. The School and its curriculum attract the boldest thinkers and the most collaborative learners who will go on to shape the practice of business and entrepreneurship around the globe.