Industrial Performance Center

Director: Richard K. Lester | Email | Website

77 Massachusetts Ave. • E38-104 • Cambridge, MA 02139 • (617) 253-7704

The Industrial Performance Center (IPC) is an interdisciplinary community of researchers dedicated to the study of productivity, innovation, and industrial development in the United States and around the world. The IPC carries out field-based, often large-scale research projects bringing together scientists and engineers with scholars from the social sciences and management disciplines. Our research teams observe strategic, technological, and organizational developments in industry and analyze the implications for firms, their employees, and the societies in which they operate. We help leaders in business, government, and education better understand global industrialization and develop practical new approaches for strengthening public policies, business strategies, technical practices, and educational programs. The Center plays an active role in the Sloan Foundation–sponsored industry studies network.

The Center’s researchers have carried out more than 2,000 visits to factory floors, offices, laboratories, and classrooms on every continent, observing clothing factories in China, biological research laboratories in England, and NASCAR garages in North Carolina. The insights gained during these visits constitute an extraordinary record of industrial change and the opportunities and risks it presents. Our research activities include:

Systems and Strategies for Innovation

IPC researchers study the conditions of innovation in selected industries throughout the world, with a particular focus on the role of research universities as contributors to innovation and economic growth.

Globalization and Its Implications for Industry and Society

The IPC Globalization Study focuses on the fragmentation of production systems of firms in advanced economies and the relocation of portions of these enterprises to other societies.

Technology and the Changing Workplace

IPC work focuses on technological change in the workplace and its implications for education and the organization of work.

China Energy Program

The IPC’s China Energy Program analyzes technological and institutional innovations in China’s energy sector and has launched a national survey of the investment, operational, and environmental strategies of Chinese power plant owners and operators.

Energy Innovation Project

The goals of the MIT Energy Innovation Project are to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the current energy innovation system, to recommend ways to improve its performance, and to develop a general intellectual framework for analyzing this system and for evaluating specific proposals for public and private action to accelerate the pace of energy innovation.