Open in the App Open in the App Open in the App
Get the key ideas from

The Smartest Places on Earth

Why Rustbelts Are the Emerging Hotspots of Global Innovation

By Antoine van Agtmael and Fred Bakker
12-minute read
Audio available
The Smartest Places on Earth: Why Rustbelts Are the Emerging Hotspots of Global Innovation by Antoine van Agtmael and Fred Bakker

The Smartest Places on Earth (2016) tells the story of former industrial powerhouse regions around the world that fell into decline but have since reemerged as centers of innovative collaborations. These blinks describe how countries in the West are using this model to challenge the cheap labor-oriented mass production model that has come to prominence elsewhere.

  • Entrepreneurs everywhere
  • Business owners
  • Tech and innovation junkies

Antoine van Agtmael is a senior advisor at the public policy advisory firm Garten Rothkopf, based in Washington, DC. A former financier, he coined the term “emerging markets” and founded the investment management firm Emerging Markets Management, LLC.

Fred Bakker is a recently retired Dutch journalist and former CEO, as well as editor-in-chief of Het Financieele Dagblad, Holland’s equivalent of the Financial Times.

Go Premium and get the best of Blinkist

Upgrade to Premium now and get unlimited access to the Blinkist library. Read or listen to key insights from the world’s best nonfiction.

Upgrade to Premium

What is Blinkist?

The Blinkist app gives you the key ideas from a bestselling nonfiction book in just 15 minutes. Available in bitesize text and audio, the app makes it easier than ever to find time to read.

Discover
3,000+ top
nonfiction titles

Get unlimited access to the most important ideas in business, investing, marketing, psychology, politics, and more. Stay ahead of the curve with recommended reading lists curated by experts.

Join Blinkist to get the key ideas from
Get the key ideas from
Get the key ideas from

The Smartest Places on Earth

Why Rustbelts Are the Emerging Hotspots of Global Innovation

By Antoine van Agtmael and Fred Bakker
  • Read in 12 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 7 key ideas
Upgrade to Premium Read or listen now
The Smartest Places on Earth: Why Rustbelts Are the Emerging Hotspots of Global Innovation by Antoine van Agtmael and Fred Bakker
Synopsis

The Smartest Places on Earth (2016) tells the story of former industrial powerhouse regions around the world that fell into decline but have since reemerged as centers of innovative collaborations. These blinks describe how countries in the West are using this model to challenge the cheap labor-oriented mass production model that has come to prominence elsewhere.

Key idea 1 of 7

Former industrial sites are emerging as hubs of innovation to compete with emerging markets.

Have you heard the term rustbelts? It refers to formerly industrial areas in the United States and Europe, places that have largely declined in affluence because of the offshoring of manufacturing to cheaper production sites in countries such as China, Bangladesh, Mexico and Turkey.

But that’s all starting to change. Some of these rustbelt regions are transforming into brainbelts; regions that have been revitalized through the formation of hubs that unite knowledgeable workers with smart manufacturing. Just take the new production facility created by General Electric, an iconic company that produces aircraft engines and household appliances, among other products.

Rather than offshoring their production to Asia, GE set up shop in Batesville, Mississippi because of its close proximity to Mississippi State University. In this new location, researchers work with cutting-edge materials to revolutionize the production of aircraft engines.

GE had already been working with the university and, because of the great results the collaboration was producing, decided to become its neighbor. The choice has proven to be a boon to GE, as the work between the two institutions brings together innovation and smart manufacturing.

However, just because some companies succeed with this model doesn’t mean that emerging markets in the East are no longer a threat; rather, these markets are just facing stiffer competition. For instance, many Western industrial powerhouses have had to close their doors, overwhelmed by the low-cost production model – built largely on cheap labor – employed in East Asian countries.

That being said, the rise of brainbelts is causing concern for some Asian companies. Just consider the Taiwan-based Mediatek; for years, they’ve been a powerful force in the global marketplace, designing chipsets for smartphones and other such electronics.

Despite this success, the company’s CFO, David Ku, has expressed grave concerns about the increasingly competitive nature of US firms. He pointed to the San Diego-based company Qualcomm as an example, saying that they’re way ahead of the game in terms of research and development.

So, you now know why brainbelts are important. Next, you’ll learn how exactly they come about.

Upgrade to continue Read or listen now

Key ideas in this title

Upgrade to continue Read or listen now

No time to
read?

Pssst. Sign up to your secret to success: key ideas from top nonfiction in just 15 minutes.
Created with Sketch.