Fourteen thank you notes, and deep gratitude, at Thanksgiving

November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving! We’re taking a break from manufacturing this week. Instead, it’s dark meat, stuffing, mashed potatoes and a deep dish of gratitude. We asked the Futureworks community who they’re thankful for and thought we’d share.

I’m Thankful for the NEW INC community – the staff, the members. In our day-to-day, this group inspires me with their work and warms my heart with their compassion and support for one another. They’ve taught me a lot about emotional intelligence; I’ve been appreciating that more and more the past few weeks. It was so meaningful to have a group of like-minded people to commiserate, grieve, and support one another post-Election! I don’t think I could have gotten through it without them.
-Julia Kaganskiy, NEW INC Read more

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Hey cleantech & smart city startups! NYC is the world’s biggest market

Ten years ago, cleantech meant solar power and energy farms. Now, it’s all about efficient cities and IoT. Local governments are updating aging infrastructure, have a wealth of users and an insatiable appetite for data. Entrepreneurs are equally hungry to decrease waste and, of course, change the world. Cleantech isn’t just “cleaner” “tech,” it’s smarter hardware that senses surroundings, knows users and manages itself. AI and cheap sensors are tiny foremen programmed to manage and track daily ops.

New York City has its fair share of infrastructure ops. We’re the world’s biggest municipal market for energy, sanitation, transportation and buildings. Imagine how much money and time we could save by being better managed, more transparent and efficient. The global smart city market will top $1.5 trillion by 2020, and VC money in the US doubled to $741.1m since 2015 according to Melissa Mittelman and Elliott Snyder at Bloomberg. Read more

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The Futureworks guide to NYC hardware, smart-tech and connected devices accelerators and incubators

October 21, 2016

Two years ago, Hackster’s Adam Benzion curated a list of the best American hardware accelerators for The Next Web. Although New York City got an honorable mention, no NYC accelerator made the list. Fast forward to today, and New York has a deep lineup of accelerators and incubators that help hardware and smart-tech startups grow. We curated all the programs from across the city – ranging from VC-backed accelerators like Techstars to government-supported incubators like Urbantech NYC. Programs with upcoming deadlines are listed first. Enjoy, and if you find a New York City accelerator or incubator that we missed, email us at greg@imaginationinspace.com.

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Manufacturing Week reflections on NYC’s complete business ecosystem

October 14, 2016

NYC manufacturing consultant and techHouse Design Studio Founder Dean DiPietro discusses the production signatures of different cities. Credit: TEP

Happy Manufacturing Week! Over the past seven days, we’ve attended ITAC’s Manufacturing Day, presented at the Design for Manufacturing Summit and lead a TEP Conference roundtable on connected devices x advanced manufacturing. NYCEDC also released a state of manufacturing report, so all-told, we’re swimming in local data, anecdotes and new relationships – right where we like to be. The number one lesson is that New York City manufacturing is a complete business ecosystem. Companies hire here, build locally, team up with local partners and are largely supported through local clients, contracts and consumers.

First the report. Manufacturing jobs are up 3.3% to 78,000 since 2011. In 2015, the average manufacturer increased its employee base by 8.1%. Moody’s economists predict manufacturing to contribute more and more to Gross City Product, especially in the food and electronics manufacturing sectors. While breweries and bakeries are leading the charge on the f&b side, wood product manufacturing is leading on the industrial side. We’ve written about manufacturing agencies like Brooklyn-based SITU responding to New York’s desire for custom interiors, lobbies, installations and furniture – a cornerstone of the sector’s 38% growth rate. On the other end of the product spectrum, computer and electronics manufacturing is growing 26.7% and paying an incredible $104,000 average wage. Read more

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Pratt Center helps lead national Equitable Innovation Economies Program with four-city pilot

August 23, 2016

Brooklyn’s Pratt Center for Community Development is spearheading a national urban-development strategy that sets inclusivity benchmarks for economic success. Photo credit: Pratt

In order to support and develop equitable, inclusive urban innovation and manufacturing economies, Brooklyn’s Pratt Center for Community Development, Oakland-based PolicyLink and the national Urban Manufacturing Alliance created the Equitable Innovation Economies project. Over the past two years, EIE’s pilot brought together four cities – New York City, Indianapolis, San Jose and Portland (Oregon) – to collaborate, rather than compete, on longterm economic development. The four cities are sharing research, strategies and data to foster and track inclusive planning. Earlier this month, Pratt released City Snapshots of each initiative, which we summarize below.

Over the past two years, each city developed public-private investments to intentionally break down innovation barriers that are holding back equitable development. The EIE team worked with cities to help advise on programmatic strategy, capture results and set next steps. While the goals in each city – increasing economic diversity, re-establishing manufacturing and training local workforce – are similar, the footprints have their own flavor.  Read more

Will New York City Become a Federally Designated Manufacturing Community?

August 12, 2016

Albany-born US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand toured New York advanced manufacturing hubs to promote federal legislation that would continue President Obama’s official designation of Manufacturing Communities. Her tour included two NYC destinations in Boyce Technologies (pictured here) and Manufacture New York. Credit: Boycetechinc instagram

Earlier this week, US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand visited Long Island City’s Boyce Technologies and Sunset Park’s Manufacture New York to promote manufacturing legislation. If passed, her Made in America Manufacturing Communities Act of 2016 will allow suburban and urban regions to apply for official manufacturing designation. With $1.3 billion in federal economic development funding for manufacturing, earning the Manufacturing Community title will help funding applicants, essentially, move to the front of the line. Read more

How Imagination and Networks are Driving the Rise of New York City Manufacturing

August 4, 2016

Google Headquarters in New York. SITU Fabrication’s CNC-milled aluminum panels run down the length of the Google lobby. Brand offices are using architecture to tell their stories, and that means custom concepts not just unique materials. Credit: SITU Fabrication

As we mentioned a few weeks ago, New York City is enjoying a manufacturing renaissance. Jobs are up 1,100 over the past year, the longest sustained growth in decades. Charlie Euchner’s report for the Center for an Urban Future shed light on job growth and a trio of manufacturing sectors: 3D printing, metal and wood fabrication and food manufacturing. We explored the first two and chatted with Euchner, ITAC Executive Director Kinda Younes and Voodoo Manufacturing Director of Manufacturing Jim Allen. The goal? To better define how we’re thinking about New York City manufacturing today.

What we found is that defining manufacturing is less about volume and materials than it is about market-based needs. New York City’s fabrication and printing sectors are services and agencies rather than assembling product. The signature of New York City manufacturing seems to be translating client visions into the physical world – whether it’s one-off fabrication for a museum or a series of trophies for VH1’s Hip Hop Honors. It’s a zero-inventory approach that’s markedly different from 19th and 20th century assembly lines and leading to a surge of growth across the city. Read more