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About the Book
Since 2013 we visited ten regions in the US and Europe that all showed a remarkable resemblance in their transformation into healthy and innovative economies. They used their core competences in new, collaborative ways. Companies and universities engaged in joint research projects and startups, while new technologies like sensors, innovative materials, robotics, 3D printing and the Internet of Things brought back the dynamism that was once common in these areas.
AKRON This town in Northeast Ohio once was the tire capital of the US. Four major tire companies had their research and production facilities in Akron. But in the 1980´s and 1990´s production was outsourced to lower-cost sites in Mexico and Asia. The city’s economy was heavily affected, with unemployment on the rise and the entrepreneurial spirit gone. After a couple of years, Luis Proenza took office as the new president of the University of Akron. Proenza saw the potential not only for his university, but for the region and the state of Ohio as a whole. He convinced the governor and his colleagues that the future was in polymers and that by joining forces, the rubber city could be transformed into the polymer region of the US. Tire companies had left some of their research initiatives in the region, and together with the engineers and professors at the universities, startups and new activities blossomed. Fifteen years later, this dream was fulfilled and the revitalization of this former rustbelt was underway.