Michael H. Best, Ph.D.
Center for Industrial Competitiveness (CIC)
University Professor Emeritus
University of Massachusetts Lowell

Michael H. Best is professor emeritus, University of
Massachusetts Lowell where he was Co-Director of the
Center for Industrial Competitiveness. He has examined
transformation of production systems in history, economic
theory, and by visiting many, many hundreds of enterprises
usually in support of industrial restructuring programs in
nearly twenty countries. His ‘capability and innovation’
perspective is developed and illustrated with enterprise,
regional and national case studies in three books, How
Growth Really Happens: The Making of Economic Miracles
through Production, Governance, and Skills, Princeton
University Press, 2018 (winner of the 2018 Schumpeter
Prize); The New Competitive Advantage: The Renewal of
American Industry, Oxford University Press, 2001 and The
New Competition: Institutions of Industrial Restructuring,
Harvard University Press and Polity Press, 1990. He lives in

The Capabilities and Innovation perspective was
simultaneously shaped by and applied in enterprise
modernization, technology management, and sector
development projects he has led in various industrial
settings including London, Slovenia, India, Cyprus, Jamaica,
Honduras, Ireland and Malaysia as well as in Massachusetts.

Professor Best was a founding editorial board member of
Massachusetts Benchmarks: The Quarterly Review of
Economic News and Insight, jointly published by the
University of Massachusetts and the Federal Reserve Bank
of Boston; and was Center Evaluator and member of the
Industrial Advisory Board for the Biodegradable Polymer
Research Center, an Industry-University Cooperative
Research Center sponsored by the National Science
Foundation to carry out research on biodegradable
polymers. Member companies include 3M, Monsanto,
Eastman Chemical, Dow, BASF, BF Goodrich, and Cargill
plus the Environmental Protection Agency of the US
Government. He was on the board of the Massachusetts
Product Development Corporation, a quasi-public, royalty-
based financial institution from 1986 to 1992 and conducted
sector strategy analyses at the Greater London Enterprise
Board, a public sector venture capital agency from 1983 to
The research methodology that informs Professor Best’s
approach demands going inside the firms in any region or
nation to characterize both the relative position and
performance of enterprises within the global business and
production system, but also to capture the distinctive
regional and national ‘signatures’ of enterprises.  This
involves an analysis of the ‘industrial eco-system’ in which
firms operate including the deep craft skills, the specific
engineering expertise, the science and technology
infrastructure, business development finance, and other
extra-firm characteristics that impact on business
performance.  Yet a third layer of investigation is required.  
This involves utilizing commercial datasets of companies
and, resources permitting, constructing longitudinal
databases populated by commercial datasets but classified
by engineering-informed taxonomies.  
Michael Best Homepage