Martha Stewart salutes innovation

Martha Stewart is leading this initiative to celebrate creative entrepreneurs whose efforts are a powerful engine for economic development and growth: “Manufacturing consolidated the making of things.But now there is a new industrial revolution emerging.”

Once upon a time, here in the great land known as America, everything was made by hand, everything was made from scratch, from simple foods to complicated machines that would change the world and the way we lived, communicated and developed. Human beings are extremely entrepreneurial and always have been.

Who figured out that a wheel would aid in the moving of things? Who understood electrical currents and developed the light bulb? Who created the paper patterns for the Jacquard loom that would eventually lead to the development of printed circuits that would ultimately power thousands of devices used by billions of people every day? Who understood the science that led to the telegraph, the telephone, the wireless phone?

Entrepreneurial, do-it-your-selfers imagined what was possible and what could be built to improve and simplify (and sometimes confuse and complicate) living, making and doing.

Handmade suffered

Huge companies were built, and factories sprung up everywhere, building cars, refrigerators, and washers and dryers. Mills were constructed to turn cotton into fabrics that would be then turned into clothes and bedding. Small farmers became factory farmers raising livestock and grains and other foodstuffs to feed the masses. As commerce grew, people started to do less and less of the handmade and the homemade, and manufacturing consolidated the making of things. “American Made” started to become “Made in China” and other foreign lands where labor is cheaper and more plentiful.

But now there is a real national movement emerging in which the local and the handmade and the artisanal are celebrated and encouraged. Wherever my work or travels take me these days, I am discovering the resurgence of what I like to call “doers,” like-minded people who are setting up shops, developing new products, growing good foods, making good things.

New Industrial Revolution

I am not alone in thinking that we are in the midst of a shift in the culture, a moment when a generation of creative entrepreneurs are defining a New American Economy. This reality, I believe, is driven in part by a collective disillusionment with traditional industries, post-economic collapse — and fueled by the ubiquity of technology. Or, as Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired, so aptly says: “the third wave Industrial Revolution” is being waged by a “maker subculture” enabled by a democratization of technology. And it’s no coincidence that these creative entrepreneurs are young — young enough never to have been lulled by a false sense of security of the now elusive lifetime career at any single institution.

I share this passion for innovation and entrepreneurship. My own company has its roots in a small catering operation that I launched at my kitchen table in Westport, Conn., and I’m proud that across our magazines, television shows and digital content, we are shining a light on other creative small businesses. I’m encouraged by the fact that 28 million small businesses in the U.S. create nearly two out of every three new jobs, employing some 60 million Americans — or half of the private sector workforce.

I am proud to be a doer and part of this new revolution.
I hope you’ll join us.

Martha Stewart: ‘American Made’ salutes innovation on USAToday.com

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