IMEC, Partners, and Stakeholders Plan For the Future of Illinois Manufacturing

Produced as Part of Imec’s ‘Building the Future of Illinois Manufacturing’ Initiative, This Foresight Report Serves as a Strategic Roadmap for How Illinois Can Adapt Workforce/Workplace Shifts and Innovation Ecosystems for Our State’s Manufacturing to Be Even More Globally Competitive.

Manufacturing has been the backbone of the Illinois economy, and the rapidly changing landscape makes planning for the future uncertain. However, one thing is clear. Advanced manufacturing is not just about investing in technology; it is also about revolutionizing the entire ecosystem in which manufacturing operates. This is imperative to position Illinois to become a dynamic manufacturing hub in the future. To better understand and plan for the future of Illinois manufacturing, IMEC and Illinois industry experts set out to explore possible outcomes and how to get there. This resulted in a strategic foresight report on the Future of Manufacturing in Illinois, and it serves as the closest thing to a crystal ball looking into the future to 2030.

“Manufacturing has been leading the way through the pandemic. Yet, it is clear things will not be the same. In fact, changes are accelerating. The expert insights from the leaders involved in this process will help our communities and manufacturing leaders formulate actionable plans to harness the momentum of change into the future of Illinois manufacturing” David Boulay Ph.D. – President, IMEC.

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This report is the first step in a larger future planning process designed to launch new thinking and prompt actions that will influence the desired future for Illinois manufacturing. Four key insights are revealed:

  1. Key Beneficial Trends are Converging. Key accelerating macro trends are converging that will amplify the importance of Illinois’s food and energy resource base, and the existing strong manufacturing capability.
  2. Very Real Potential to Become a ‘Go-To’ Global Innovation Hot Spot. Industry stakeholders have identified the very real potential for Illinois manufacturing to emerge as a global innovation hot spot, built on the existing global connectivity offered by Chicago and key regional hubs.
  3. Workforce and Workplace Transformation is a Golden Opportunity. Workplaces are undergoing profound change, which is driving the need for a dual strategy approach to the future Illinois workforce, that both skills existing workers and embraces flexible new workplace models.
  4. Strong Appetite to Tackle Grand Challenges and Create a ‘Systems-Change.’ Stakeholders have identified the need for bold and transformational thinking, to trigger new collaborative.

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 “IMEC has been a strong partner in helping Illinois prepare for advancements in manufacturing and build on our long, proud history as a manufacturing state,” said Sylvia I. Garcia, Acting Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. “This report comes at an important moment as we work to spur innovation, strengthen our workforce and prepare for the future of manufacturing.”

The process involved an extensive background trend analysis and engaging approximately 75 stakeholders across the manufacturing ecosystem through a series of interviews, focus groups, and think tank forums. To identify how we create the ideal future for Illinois manufacturing, IMEC and Future IQ identified key themes shaping the future of manufacturing, examined macro trends like technology, workforce, and climate change, created plausible future scenarios, and identified expected and preferred futures, and assess potential future opportunity. The report examines these steps and provides a vision for how Illinois manufacturing could evolve.

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