Developments in downtown St. Louis

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

St. Louis is approaching $3 billion in new investment downtown. EDPros are hoping the they have reached an inflection point where the development cycle will start to accelerate. Learn more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
The changing landscape of manufacturing

Niche manufacturing and stronger exports represent the themes for manufacturing development in Maryland, as the global landscape changes. Some observers see the future in manufacturers that are "pretty small or pretty unique and can't be replicated by the Chinese."

The closure of a GM assembly plant is causing people to reassess the future of manufacturing. The message: the manufacturers that are surviving rely on innovation. Read more (Free registration required.)

posted by Ed Morrison |
Evaluating Minnesota's JOBZ initiative

Monday, December 27, 2004

Minnesota's JOBZ program has increase the number of businesses that receive tax incentives by a factor of ten. There's still no practical, political consensus whether this approach works.

The economic evidence that these subsidy deals work is flimsy, but they can be politically popular. Read a review of the Minnesota program.

posted by Ed Morrison |
A glimmer of daylight for the Iowa Values Fund

Prospects for the Iowa Values Fund have brightened. The state Supreme Court derailed this bold initiative. Now, with the November elections behind them, state legislators from both parties are looking on the reform of the $500 million Fund in more a favorable light. Read more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Establishing a National Heritage Corridor in Tennessee

Officials in 21 Tennessee counties are preparing to apply to the National Park Service to establish the Cumberland Plateau National Heritage Corridor. The designation can translate into cash. The federal government already invests in twenty-three other National Heritage Areas. Learn more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
The opposition to Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart provokes increasing opposition across the landscape. Here's a good overview article from Atlanta. Read more. (Free registration required.)

posted by Ed Morrison |
Economy Watch

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Here are the best articles on the economy from last week.

The Economy: Five Wild Cards For 2005
Long-Term Rates Pivotal for World Economy
Vital Signs for the Week of Dec. 27
Economy's rising among the upper crust
Global economy to slow in 2005, but developing countries to see robust growth
Economy: Slower but still steady ahead
U.S. Economic Expansion Projected to Continue in 2005
Forecasters agree: Growth likely to slow in '05

posted by Ed Morrison |
EDPro's best books of 2004

Here's a list of the best books I came across in 2004:

The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki: Like The Tipping Point, this book will open your eyes to the emerging power of networks.

The Price of Government by David Osborne and Peter Hutchinson: The authors raise and answer some important questions about how we can think about innovation in government. Taxes too high? Chances are we are working with outdated government structures and attitudes. They start with a compelling proposition: We should focus on buying results for citizens.

Finding Fertile Ground by Scott Shane: Written by the academic director of our center, this book provides an insightful approach to understanding entrepreneurship. EDPros have long put entrepreneurship as relatively low priority in their strategies. This bias extends to the economics profession, where few text books handle the topic well. Read more. In the years ahead, though, effective EDPros will become far more adept at building entrepreneurship and innovation networks.

The Future of Competition by C.K. Prahalad and Venkat Ramaswamy: The emergence of networks changes the way corporations create value. A useful follow-on to The Experience Economy by Joseph Pine and James Gilmore. (Gilmore is a Cleveland resident and is working with our center.) Pine and Gilmore argue that we are moving toward a profound shift in the way corporations create value.

The Power of Impossible Thinking by Jerry Wind and Colin Crook: A report on research conducted at the Wharton School about how leaders can change mental models. Many of the challenges we face in economic development come down to changing how people think: their cognitive frameworks. At REI we have been working of developing tools that EDPros can use to help reframe people's thinking about the future of their community. Too often, people drive into the future by looking in the rearview mirror. This book fits nicely with the next one.

Changing Minds by Howard Gardner: A leading psychologist summarizes how the revolution in cognitive science -- which has gained momentum since the 1990s -- provides insights into how people change their minds. Although the labels are a bit clunky at times, Gardner gives some useful examples of how leaders, like Margaret Thatcher, worked to change people's minds. You can listen to an interview with Gardner from National Public Radio here.

Appreciative Leadership by Jack Ricchiuto: Written by a consultant to our center, this short volume provides powerful insights into the type of leadership skills that EDPros need in a networked economy. (You can download the book for free.) Appreciative Leadership offers a different perspective on Appreciative Inquiry, an approach to organizational change developed at Case by my colleague, David Cooperrider. David has used Appreciative Inquiry in widely different contexts, and we are working to adapt this approach to regional economic development. Learn more about Appreciative Inquiry by exploring this Case web site.

The Power of Productivity by Willam Lewis: A former head of McKinsey's Global Institute explores why relative productivity matters in a global world. A bit dense, but if you are interested in the evolving global economy, this book provides valuable insights. (You can get a summary of the book here.)

The Creative City by Charles Landry: This book, originally written in 2000, has been revised. It provides useful tools and examples to make cities more creative places. The important insight is that arts and culture are not "add-ons" to economic development, but they can become key economic drivers. Unlike Richard Florida's work, Landry (whose book came out 2 years before The Creative Class) focuses on the practical aspects of design and implementation. Landry's work has been widely embraced in the UK, but he has not yet found an audience in the U.S. (Toronto, however, has been embracing Landry's work.)

Deliberation Day by Bruce Ackerman and James Fishkin: The authors propose a common sense, but radical idea for transforming our electoral process. The approach relies on the technique of deliberative discussion, an effective way to engage a diverse public. This approach provides valuable lessons for EDPros confronting strategic planning. Deliberative discussions provide the basis for large scale interventions with a group of people who do not know each other. We experimented with this format in October at Case. As one of sixteen campuses across the country, we conducted Deliberation Day for MacNeil Lehrer Productioons. Learn more. Economic development happens in the "civic space", and EDPros need some practical tools for improving the quality of civic interations. Deliberative discussions provide one approach.

Unique Value: Competition Based on Innovation Creating Unique Value edited by Chuck Weller. This book, edited by another professional working with our center, includes several chapters by Michael Porter who amplifies his theories of competition. This work underscores the importance of innovation and productivity to competitiveness. The book also illustrates how inductive theories of dynamic systems are displacing the deductive theories of classical economics. You see this displacement in the emergence of "cluster theory" as a strategic framework for regional economic development.

Planet Broadband by Rouzbeh Yassini: This little book provides a good explanation of why broadband matters.

posted by Ed Morrison |
The creative economy is not just for cities

Friday, December 24, 2004

Richard Florida's idea of the creative economy is urban-centric: it happens in cities. But rural areas are equally able to compete in the global creative economy.

A case in point: Vermont. In October, the Vermont Council on Culture and Innovation released a report: Advancing Vermont's Creative Economy. You can download the report here.

The executive director of the Vermont Council on Rural Development has got it right when he says: " “The creative economy is a model, It’s not an add-on, or an accident, or a nice thing to do — it’s a foundation.”

Another participant in a recent panel discussion amplified the point: The creative economy “is a model that recognizes and values creativity — in individuals, communities, and businesses.” Read more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Pennsylvania's new manufacturing initiative

Pennsylvania governor Rendell has announced an ambitious plan to assist manufacturing companies in his state. The governor is boosting support in key areas, such as financing and job training. He has also named the state's first manufacturing ombudsman. Read more.

The initiative follows an extensive report for the Team Pennsylvania Foundation on the future of manufacturing in Pennsylvania. You can download the report here.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Is Texas forgetting the basics?

Governor Perry is making a bold move to renew the state's enterprise fund and to develop a second fund for research in new technologies. Total planned commitment: $600 million. Read more. The proposal has already generated interest from the national business press. Here's an article from Inc magazine.

During the debate on this proposal, I hope some legislators will be asking whether the state should also renew its commitment to the TEXAS Grant program. This initiative --- created in 1999 -- helps low income students pay for college. The fund recently ran out of money, and 23,000 Texas college students will be affected. Learn more.

Just as the TEXAS Grant ran out of money, the federal government has changed rules on the Pell grant program (also for low income students). The federal program changes will make it harder for these students to pay for college. Learn more.

On the basis of the National Report Card on Higher Education, Texas scores a "D" in affordability. Learn more.

In our rush to come up with politically attractive initiatives, we need to remember the basics. Economic development in the knowledge economy starts with brainpower. If we do not educate our young people -- and make it easy for them to afford college -- no amount of money invested in recruitment or university tech transfer will matter much in the long run. The businesses we create here will simply migrate abroad...where the brains are.

We are already seeing some disturbing trends. US colleges and universities are facing stiff competition in attracting the best students, as higher education undergoes rapid globalization. Read more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Colleges and universities as economic engines

As we move toward an economy driven by knowledge and innovation, universities are playing a different and more central role in regional economic development. The colleges and universities do not have to be big to have an impact.

We've all heard stories of Stanford and MIT. Smaller institutions are also having significant impacts: Like Albion College in Albion, Michigan, Ashland University in Ashland, OH or Old Dominion University (ODU) in Norfolk.

We are seeing the new view of colleges and universities in an increasing number of economic impact reports that institutions are producing. For example, Utah's research universities published a report within the past two weeks. Read more.

Here's a good article on the changes taking place at ODU. It also provides a good overview of the changing rroles of colleges and universities in economic development. Read more.

The article references an excellent report by CEOs for Cities: Leveraging Colleges and Universities for Urban Economic Growth: An Urban Action Agenda. You can download a copy from this page.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Web Watch: New Iowa web site to help entrepreneurs

Iowa is following an integrated series of steps to improve the entrepreneurial climate in the state. Led by the Iowa Coalition for Innovation and Growth, the initiative focuses on providing better networks among Iowa entrepreneurs, investors, and service providers.

The latest project is a new web site to help entrepreneurs. Read more. Or, visit the web site

posted by Ed Morrison |
The growing kitchen incubator trend

We're starting to see more kitchen and food incubators popping up. Here's another case from New Orleans. Read more. Here's a good background article on kitchen incubators.

This trend leverages a broader movement toward regional foods. Read more.

If you want to learn more about kitchen incubators, here's an example from Denver and here's another from Idaho. Finally, here's one developed by our friend and colleague, June Holley at the Appalachian Center for Economic Networks, or ACEnet. Learn more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
The competitive advantage of local customer service

Here's another story that demonstrates that the issue of outsourcing is more subtle and complex than simply a comparison of wage rates.

Comcast is building up its call center jobs in New England. Despite the wage penalty, the company finds that a New England based call center operation generates higher levels of customer satisfaction and a lower level of customer complaints. In other words: quality and customer relationships are the end game, not simply cost reductions. Read more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Bangor: Focusing on brainpower and creativity

Bangor, ME is another community that is learning a new approach to economic development. The focus is on building, attracting and retaining brainpower: people. As the mayor points out:

“Obviously in the last few years, especially in this part of the country, the economy is changing. We’re losing shoe manufacturers, papers mills...we’ve positioned ourselves to attract those businesses that are on a growth course. With the computer age, the Internet, people can locate and work wherever they want.”

Read more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Outsourcing: Congress heads in the wrong direction

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Judy Olian, dean of the Smeal College of Business at Penn State University, has written a good overview of the debate on outsourcing that is now taking place in the economics profession. She reviews the debate on both sides of the issue.

She concludes, "We're still in the midst of the dislocations and transitions resulting from global outsourcing, so it's premature to judge long-term results. What seems evident so far? Yes, corporate earnings and investors are benefiting. Yes, U.S. consumers are benefiting from cheaper prices due to global outsourcing. Yes, U.S. workers are dislocated -- perhaps permanently in the manufacturing sector and significantly among professional and white-collar employees whose jobs won't return unless the country invests substantially in their retraining and education."

Yet, we see that Congress is now making it harder for low income students to pay college tuitions. You can listen to a recent report from National Public Radio from this page. Or, you can read more about the policy change here.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Why a stadium does not generate prosperity

The PBS News Hour program had an interesting segment exploring whether stadium deals represented economic development. Andrew Zimbalist, professor of economics at Smith College and author of May the Best Team Win: Baseball Economics and Public Policy made the clearest case for why baseball and football stadiums are not by themselves good economic development investments.

"Practically every stadium that's come on stream in the last 20 years in the United States has been accompanied by a consulting report-- these are hired-out consulting companies-- that are working for the promoters of the stadium.

"They engage in a very, very dubious methodology. They make unrealistic assumptions and they can produce whatever result they want to produce." Read more.

This issue is about to be played out in another city: Indianapolis. Read more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
KY foundation must disclose incentive deal

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

A Kentucky appellate court has decided that a private foundation that spends public money must release its records to the public. This decision strips away the argument that a private foundation can keep its records private. In making the decision, the Kentucky court found that the private foundation expends public money. Read more.

This decision represents an important victory for advocates of public accountability. Some years ago in Louisiana, a group attempted to obtain disclosure of records from the Biomedical Research Foundation of Northwest Louisiana. Each year, the Foundation receives public money as the proceeds from a local sales tax. The foundation holds that once it receives these funds, it has no obligation as a private foundation to disclose how it spends this public money beyond its public filings with the IRS.

We can only hope that the Kentucky court decision opens the door to more effective disclosure in other states, like Louisiana.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Helping immigrant entrepreneurs

Here's an interesting program to encourage immigrant entrepreneurs to start their own businesses. Read more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Building the arts in Zanesville

Zanesville, OH is a city of about 25,000 people sixty miles east of Columbus. A new artists group is forming that opens some interesting economic development opportunities for the city. Read more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Incentive worries? Nope

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Some EDPros are worried about the impact of the Ohio tax ruling on incentives. Read more.

EDPros have a lot of challenges ahead, but worrying about the impacts of the Ohio tax ruling is not one of them. (And the notion -- as one person suggests in an article -- that we need tax incentives to offset lower labor rates abroad is not based on sensible thinking. The labor costs gaps with emerging markets are simply too large to do that. Read more.)

We need to be more concerned about the fact that the U.S. lags behind in broadband penetration. Read more. (Do you have a broadband deployment plan in your community?)

Or, we should focus on the fact that our students lag behind other countries in math and science skills. Read more. (Is your business community fully engaged in improving education? See, for example, Educators for Educational Excellence.)

Or, we should focus on the fact that creativity and innovation is developing quickly offshore. Read more here and here. (How is the health of the innovation and entrepreneurship networks in your community? Do you teach entrepreneurship skills in your high schools? Do you sponsor business plan competitions? Do you encourage angel investors?)

posted by Ed Morrison |
Northeast Ohio business plan competition

Business plan competitions are an effective way to boost interest in entrepreneurship in your economy. Here's an article from McKinsey that outlines how business plan competitions accelerate economic development. Read more.

Earlier this week, Cleveland announced a regional business plan competition. You can read more about it here or visit the web site.

Here's an article on how business plan competitions are starting to change the business climate in Wisconsin. Read more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Florida, Georgia shift focus to retention

Monday, December 20, 2004

In Florida, leading economic development groups are forming Florida Business Insights, a pilot initiative to support existing businesses. Read more.

Georgia's governor is preparing two new initiatives to support Georgia business development: the "Entrepreneur and Small Business" initiative and "Strategic Industries and Innovation" initiative. The proposals have yet to be drafted, but they are already getting positive reviews. Read more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Bioscience district emerging in Atlanta

Developers are pushing for a new bioscience district in Atlanta; it is one of several that are emerging in Georgia. Read more.

(Another corridor is emerging along State Route 316 between Gwinnett County and the University of Georgia in Athens. Read more.)

Last week, Gov. Sonny Perdue challenged the Georgia Research Alliance to explore whether the state needs a geographic location like Research Triangle Park in North Carolina to develop a higher profile for its technology-based development. (The legislature created the Alliance in 1990 as an economic development strategy to promote innovative research at Georgia's universities. The alliance supports collaborations between public and private sectors to develop federal grant funding and science-related businesses in Georgia.)

posted by Ed Morrison |
The Great California Stem Cell Rush

According to this article from The Boston Globe, California is set to benefit from a rush to develop technologies based on stem cells. (Wisconsin is another early mover. Read more.)

According a prominent researcher in the field here in Cleveland, the California rush may turn out to be less than it seems. Funds dedicated to stem cell research may end up being diverted to other programs, if the funds cannot be productively deployed in stem cell research.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Translating ideas into action in NW North Carolina

As a former consultant, I'm happy to see communities that actually move from talk to action. That's what's happening in Northwest North Carolina. Read more.

Several factors need to align before ideas can be translated to action plans. First, the process of developing the plan needs to be designed in such a way that you build consensus around a handful of initiatives. Next, you need a leadership team capable of maintaining focus...and knowing which way to jump when circumstances change. In sum, good economic development requires both public participation and leadership direction.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Hampton Roads picks some clusters

Hampton Roads, VA has outlined five targets for future development: ports and distribution, information and technology, modeling and simulation, technical services and tourism. Learn more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Landmark innovation report presents our challenge

The full "InnovateAmerica" report by the U.S. Council on Competitiveness is now available online in PDF format. You can download it here. Learn more.

The opening resolution of this landmark report says it all:

"Innovation will be the single most important factor in determining America's success through the 21st century... America's challenge is to unleash its innovation capacity to drive productivity, standard of living and leadership in global markets.

At a time when macro-economic forces and financial constraints make innovation-driven growth a more urgent imperative than ever before, American businesses, government, workers and universities face an unprecedented acceleration of global change, relentless pressure for short-term results, and fierce competition from countries that seek an innovation-driven future for themselves. For the past 25 years, we have optimized our organizations for efficiency and quality. Over the next quarter century, we must optimize our society for innovation."

posted by Ed Morrison |
Economy Watch

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Here are the best economics articles from last week:

White House Predicts Slightly Lower U.S. Growth
Economic Development Essential to Address Climate Change 
Meeting will launch public campaign on Bush's economic reforms 
Vital Signs for the Week of Dec. 20
U.S. trade gap widens, industrial output up
All Eyes on the Inflation Watch
The cost of borrowing

posted by Ed Morrison |
Western North Carolina's new infrastructure

Western North Carolina is one of my favorite regions to watch. They are effectively building the networks a region needs to compete in a global economy. More impressive, they are building this infrastructure in a rural region. Here a case in pont.

A sophisticated information technology company recently announced that it would expand in Western North Carolina. The company needs the high speed fiber-optic network. It also benefits from a proximity to Oak Ridge National Labs. Finally, the region's new angel capital network has stepped in with a $2 million investment. Learn more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Topeka Chamber launches incubators

The Topeka Chamber of Commerce has launched two new incubators targeted at minority and disadvantaged businesses. Learn more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Investing in colleges and universities

The president of Washington State University is busy making the case that research universities are the new engines of economic development. Read more.

We are starting to see college and university presidents becoming far more assertive in pressing the need for investments in higher education. Last week, Utah and Utah State released a report on their economic impact. Read more. Here's another view from western North Carolina.

And this week in Michigan, Commission on Higher Education and Economic Development released its report and recommendations. Read more. You can download the Michigan commission report from this page.

posted by Ed Morrison |
More evidence on the emergence of regions

Globalization is pushing regions to the forefront of economic changes, while at the same time weakening the leverage of national governments to intervene in markets.

Here is a good case in point. This week, the United Nations is holding a global warming conference in Argentina. While the Bush administration has dug in its heels by refusing to sign the Kyoto Protocol to reduce "greenhouse gases", a number of states are moving ahead on their own.

In New England, eight states have come together in an effort to reduce emissions. last month, in the Pacific Northwest, California, Oregon and Washington signed an agreement to work together. Even more interesting, talk emerged this week of a European-U.S. market in carbon-trading.

Learn more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
The new role of colleges and universities

Northern Kentucky University is one of my favorite institutions to watch. They understand the changing role that colleges and universities must play in economic development.

Here's the latest initiative out of NKU. They want to launch an ambitious Partnership for Regional Economic Progress, consisting of eight related initiatives. It's the kind of aggressive strategy that makes sense in this global economy. Read more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Dell squeezes NC until it hurts

Make no mistake: Dell has extracted just about every drop of incentives available in North Carolina. After the state assembled a package worth over one quarter of a billion dollars, Dell touched off a local competition to squeeze even more incentives out of the deal. Read more.

EDPros need to start redirecting our energies from subsidizing businesses to investing in brainpower. James Surowiecki (who has written an excellent book, The Wisdom of Crowds) points out the folly of our ways. Read more.

We'll be continuing to watch states and local governments go overboard on the incentive game. The next show to watch: Toyota.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Activating a clawback

San Antonio activated the "clawback" provision of its incentive agreement with Alcoa this week. Read more. Clawback provisions make sense, so that EDPros can avoid controversies like the one that recently surrounded the closing of the Maytag plant in Galesburg, IL.

When Maytag Corp. started talking about closing shop and moving 2,000 jobs out Galesburg a few years ago, the community and the state put together a package of millions of dollars in grants and loans to induce Maytag to stay. The company took the money but then decided to close its factory and transfer manufacturing to Mexico anyway. The local prosecutor has sued Maytag to recover $1.1 million in property taxes. Read more.

Here's some more background on the situation in San Antonio. Read more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Good quote on broadband

Here's a good quote from an official from the Blandin Foundation in Minnesota. This week, Blandin announced the availability of funds to assist rural communities gain access to broadband networks.

“In today’s global economy, we are no longer competing with our neighbors in South Dakota, Iowa or Wisconsin. We are competing with every country, every business, everyday. Communities that want to thrive must embrace broadband. It’s as simple as that.”

Read more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Texas governor proposes $600 million in new funds

The governor of Texas wants $300 million more for the Texas Enterprise Fund (used to attract firms) and another $300 million for the Emerging Technology Fund, targeted at creating new companies spinning out of the state's universities. Learn more.

The purpose of the Texas Enterprise Fund is to give the state the flexibility and "deal closing" capability in economic development. Read more background.

The governor's proposed Emerging Technology Fund will mostly benefit the state's colleges and universities. Learn more

posted by Ed Morrison |
Connecting to foreign markets through universities

Here's a good example of a university-based research partnership that can open the door to global business opportunities. The University of New Mexico and a research center in Mexico have formed a partnership in electrochemistry. Read more.

As regions globalize, colleges and universities play an important role in opening the door to foreign markets. University-based collaborations are relatively easy to form, and they carry relatively little downside risk. They open the door to new networks in a foreign country, and they can reduce the time for U.S. businesses to get connected.

In many foreign markets, the connection between universities and the business community is closer than in the U.S. So, for example, a U.S. business seeking to enter the China market can use academic exchanges -- conferences and meetings -- to develop networks in China.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Wind power in rural regions

In some rural economies, wind energy is becoming a significant economic development opportunity. Here's a report on the economic development consequences of a wind farm in rural Oregon. Read more. You can download the report from this page.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Trying to come together in rural Michigan

Oceana County, MI sits on the western edge of Michigan and has 26,000 people; Mason County to the north has 28,000; Manistee County, the next county up has 24,000 people.

The local community college trying to get all three to come together in a new regional economic development effort. Read more.

In these situations, the alternative is to build networks, not consolidate, necessarily. Networks enable each county to maintain their identities.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Fragmented in Tucson

The economy is booming in Tucson, but economic development efforts are still fragmented. In 2005, there may be a good chance that civic leaders will meet the challenge of focusing their efforts. Read more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Bared teeth in Bay County

Friday, December 17, 2004

Jay Garner passed this article along. The editorial demonstrates the costs communities pay when politics gets personal and consensus is nowhere to be found. Read more

There's no law in economics that says Bay County, Michigan needs to exist. Further, it is possbile for "leaders" in a community to drive the economy into the ground. Bay County illustrates the importance of educating public officials to the new world of economic development. If left unaddressed, matters can always get worse.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Assessing South Carolina's progress

Darla Moore, a former investment banker, is the lead architect of South Carolina's push into cluster-based development. The move is significant as a paradigm shift in the way economic development is done in the state.

South Carolina has been one of a number of Southern states that have built an impressive economic base with recruitment strategies. These recruitment strategies emphasized the state's relatively low cost structure. Now, the state is moving toward innovation and productivity improvement as a generator of wealth.

In a recent speech, she evaluated the state's progress. Read more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Mississippi's pilot preschool programs

Here's more evidence of the growing link between economic development and preschool education.

Increasingly, civic leaders are making the connection between improved preschool education and better educational outcomes. Investments in preschool pay dividends in improved school performance. These results are measurable.

Four communities in Mississippi are launching a pilot preschool program. One of the rationales for the initiatives is to promote economic development. Read more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Here's a quote you can use

Auburn University professor Joe Sumners recently spoke to civic leaders on the changes in Alabama's economy. He came up with a good quote that summarizes the shift underway. The competitive challenge ahead of us is not "what does labor cost, but what does labor know?" Read more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Business creativity center

Here's a new type of infrastructure in economic development. EDPros from the San Diego North Economic Development Council have announced a business creativity center. Learn more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Networking in Fayetteville

Monday, December 13, 2004

Here's a common sense idea: a networking event for young professionals. Folks in Fayetteville, AR just pulled off an event that attracted 250 people. Read more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Economy Watch

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Here are the best articles from last week.

Rubin: American Economy at Dangerous Crossroads
Economic news can spin many ways
Vital Signs for the Week of Dec. 13
Economic dangers loom with start of second term
Inflation signals appear in economy
E-Tailing Finally Hits Its Stride
U.S. Productivity Growth Slows
U.S. Economic Outlook Dims

posted by Ed Morrison |
Plant more seeds

Here's some more sound advice.

Patrick Barkey, director of economic and policy studies at Ball State University, writes a regular column for the local paper. In his latest column, he explores the question, "What can Indiana do to stem the loss of corporate headquarters?"

His answer: Forget the incentive/recruitment game -- plant more seeds for new companies. Read more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Ohio's new information highway

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Earlier this month, Ohio launched a major new information infrastructure, the Third Frontier Network. Among other benefits, the high speed data network holds the promise of accerating commercial development of research and impriving the way health care is delivered.

The high speed network will also connect primary and secondary schools. So, for example, a high school and a college can now partner in the development of improved science enducation. Read more.

You can learn more about the network from this web site.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Branding Kansas

Kansas will be launching a new branding campaign in January. Read more. You can get a preview from this site.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Improving the flexibility of higher education

One sure way to improve a regional economy comes through investments in higher education. Unfortunately, many state legislatures, facing budget cuts, have reduced the relative priority of higher education. But that is only part of the problem.

A more serious structural problem in most states comes in the systems of administrative control over different types of higher educational institutions. This administrative burden translates into less flexibility on the ground. Students have a harder time transferring credits among educational institutions.

For the past number of years, innovations are seeping into some states to improve the responsiveness of higher education to its prime customers: the students. Here's an example.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Creative strategies

This week Vermont issued a report on their creative industries strategy. You can read more about it here. You can also download the report.

Also, in Michigan this week, the governor's Cool Cities initiative listened to Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point. Over 1,000 people attended the conference. Read more about the conference.

posted by Ed Morrison |
The beginning of Florida

Jacksonville's new branding campaign is based on the tag line, "Where Florida begins". The campaign, according to the mayor, is designed to differentiate along two dimensions: "First, how does Jacksonville compare with other Florida cities? And secondly, what characteristics differentiate us from other U.S. cities?" Read more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
A concise guide to strategy in a global era

Each week, Chuck Lawton writes a column on economic development for the newspaper in Portland, ME.

Here's his contribution from last week. It provides us a clear framework to think about the challenges of globalization. Read more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Questioning incentives

The competition for recruitment deals has never been more intense. But there's also a new skepticism about whether incentives make sense.

It used to be that only economists and public policy professionals raised much question about incentives. Now we see the debate shifting more to the popular press. Some are questioning whether incentives are justified. Others argue that there are better long term returns if we increase investments in early child care.

Here's another article from Memphis that raises questions about the value of incentives. Read more.

A prediction: in the years ahead, economic development incentives will start to shift from companies to people. Here's a good article from San Antonio.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Higher education and economic development

One of the clear lessons we face is this: A high school education is no longer enough for a middle class job.

In Montana, a leadership group is grappling with how to increase the number of young people moving on to college. They have broken down the challenge into some workable components. Learn more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
The square root of nine is trouble

We face a looming challenge to improve our deteriorating math skills. That;s the message of a new report that compares the U.S. to other developed countries. Our young people rank near the bottom. Learn more.

We are already seeing the consequences of weak basic skills throughout the economy. Here is a good example from Louisiana. A recent study finds that weak basic skills translate into unfilled jobs and less competitive companies. Learn more.

If you want to get up to speed on this issue, I recommend that you read Teaching the New Basic Skills. You can buy it used on Amazon for less than a buck. But don't let the price fool you. It's written by economists from Harvard and MIT, and it provides the best outline of the challenges we face as EDPros.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Second tier markets in biotech

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Maine recently completed a site analysis for biomed facilities, and the report holds some promise for second tier cities. According to the report's author, John Boyd of the Boyd Company, Inc.:

"There's a shift from large, (cost) prohibitive markets like Boston, Princeton and Atlanta to smaller markets with low cost-of-living indexes, low tax structures, low cost of doing business. Really, it's no secret. There's an exodus away from the large cities, especially with respect to California."

Read more
. Here's some additional background.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Silicon Valley continues to build its networks

Silicon Valley is a region thick with networks and support for entrepreneurs. But this fact does not deter EDPros from continuing to build out their infrastructure of support networks for innovation and entrepreneurship.

The latest project: a partnership between an established organization with a strong track record -- The Enterprise Network of Silicon Valley -- and a new organization -- the Institute for International Business Development. The partnership will provide new international business opportunities for Hispanic businesses. Learn more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Promoting rural arts and entrepreneurship

Here's an interesting idea out of Montana. The TRACE program, which stands for Transforming Rural Artisans into Creative Entrepreneurs, provides training to rural artists in the basics of business development. Learn more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
An anchor investment at a university

Clusters typically form around anchor investments. These anchor investments most commonly take the form of large company facilities (the Toyota plant in San Antonio, for example) or university-based research centers.

Here's an example of an anchor investment in a university: The Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center at Old Dominion University. The center has spawned over 4,000 high paying jobs in the region. Learn more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Economic development: its about balanced systems

Economic development used to be about "things": developing an industrial park, recruiting a business, building a spec building.

Increasingly, we are coming to understand that this "thing theory" of economic development is inadequate. Sustainable economic development requires balanced investment in a range of areas. EDPRos need a deeper, systems view of their economies.

Here's a report that illustrates importance of understanding interdependencies. A report that will be released this week in albany notes that if EDPros are successful in recruiting high tech companies, there are not enough skilled people around to fill the jobs. Read more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Toledo moves to consolidate

After months of discussion and a major consulting report, Toledo and Lucas County has apparently agreed to merge their economic development efforts.

This move reflects a deeper trend. Regions can no longer afford the multiplicity of efforts that leads to confusion and stalemate. Read more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Resource: Development Report Card for the States

The Corporation for Enterprise Development has released its 2004 Development Report Card for the States. You can download it from this page. The data are freely available for download in an Excel format, as well.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Winston Salem's Christmas present to Dell

Winston-Salem is putting together a big package for Dell: $37 million. (That's three times the $12 million package proposed by Greensboro.) Read more.

Meanwhile, transportation and people were two of the prime business reasons for choosing the Triad, according to Dell. Read more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
A strategy for the Mon Valley

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Competition has hit the Monongahela Valley of Pennsylvania hard. There are no simple answers, no easy path to prosperity.

In the late 1970's and early 1980's, US Steel, Westinghouse Electric, Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel and others closed major manufacturing plants in the Mon Valley. These facilities provided a major portion of the employment base of not just the Mon Valley, but of Western PA.

Late last week, civic leaders in the Valley gathered to hear the key points of a new strategy. Learn more.

You can visit the project web site and download the strategy documents from this page.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Economy Watch

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Here are the latest articles on the economy. Looks like trends are wobbling and skidding again.

Economists Say Employment Will Strengthen
U.S. economy struggles to add jobs
Jobs outlook worries economists
Vital Signs for the Week of Dec. 6
U.S. factory orders up, jobless claims rise
Antidote to Dollar Fall Will Take Time to Brew
Survey: CEOs Less Bullish About Economy
Fed Reports Continued US Economic Growth
US consumer confidence fell in Nov 28 week-report

posted by Ed Morrison |
Anatomy of a Deal: Bass Pro in Buffalo

Bass Pro has landed a $66 million deal in Buffalo. Here are the details.

Meanwhile, a judge in Louisiana heard arguments in the case of a $50 million financing package for a Bass Pro Shop in Denham Springs. Read more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Another report ties early childhood education to economic development

Friday, December 03, 2004

For over a year, the Committee for Economic Development, a Washington-based business group has been promoting the connection between early childhood education and economic development. Today, they released the latest in a series of reports.

Co-authored by a Nobel prize-winning economist, the paper notes that, "Over 20 percent of US workers are functionally illiterate and innumerate, a much higher percentage than in leading European countries. This is a major drag on U.S. competitiveness and a source of social problems," including the huge cost of crime.

They project that if current trends continue the annual rate of productivity growth attributable to education will decline by half or more in the next two decades.

Read a summary of the report. Or, download the report. For more background on this issue, read the CED's report, Preschool for All.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Innovative training in advanced manufacturing

With support from the state government, Spencer County, Indiana has launched an innovative initiative in advanced manufacturing. As one of the key promoters noted: "Spencer County faces three key challenges that are common in rural counties. To be successful we must address the issues of poverty, illiteracy and an aging workforce that confront our community,"

Project Excellence will expose young people and adults to the skills needed for career sin manufacturing. The training is designed to provide participants with advanced manufacturing Certificates of Technical Achievement. Learn more: Article 1 and Article 2.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Massachusetts releases innovation index

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Massachusetts has released its latest Innovation Index. The report concludes that the state is facing a growing gap between innovation and job creation. Despite the fact that the state's technology infrastructure is stronger than it has ever been, the state is facing increasing global competition.

Read more. You can also download the report.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Generating revenues to cover the costs of sprawl

Here's one of the big challenges of sprawl: Quickly, the costs of residential development outstrip the revenues generated by the residential development. In short: residential development does not pay for itself.

In Georgia, one expert estimates that property taxes on homes pay only about 70 percent of their costs in services.

Read more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Knoxville launches a branding campaign

The region around Knoxville is ready to roll-out a new marketing campaign: Knoxville-Oak Ridge/Innovation Valley.

The campaign has clearly defined target markets.

Within the manufacturing category: automotive, machinery and medical devices industries. In the technology category: instruments, nanotechnology and homeland security. In the corporate office category: headquarters, shared services and media operations. Read more.

There's a growing sense in the region of the importance of regional collaboration. Read more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Pennsylvania tax reform commission releases report

A commission appointed by the governor has recommended that Pennsylvania cut its corproate taxes by a third. The proposal is based on lowering the rate and broadening the base of the corporate tax. Read more.

You can download the commission's final report from this page.

This approach makes the most sense from an economic dev elopmen viewpoint. Rather than promoting selective tax incentives -- which narrow the overall tax base and place upward pressure on rates -- we should be supporting a simpler and fairer approach to corporate taxation. The criteria used by the commission provides a good guide to reform. Download the commission's reform criteria.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Wisconsin's new entrepreneurial network

Wisconsin has launched the Wisconsin Entrepreneurship Network (WEN). based on the campuses of the Univerisity of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Technical College System, the network will link resources throughout the state. Learn more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Charleston lands Boeing supplier

Charleston has landed a big fish with the announcement this week that Vought, a key supplier to Boeing, will build a facility near the airport. Learn more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
The emerging race in stem cells

California stepped out with financial support for embryonic stem cells, and now other states are worried about being left behind. Here's a good overview.

An innovative official in Illinois proposes that the state finance a $1 billion program in stem cell research by imposing a 6% sales tax on cosmetic surgery: a "nip and tuck" tax. (There's a joke in there somewhere, but I'm not smart enough to find it.)
Read more.

Meanwhile, a week ago, Wisconsin's governor proposed investing $750 million to accelerate stem cell research. Read more. At the same time, Milwaukee's mayor believes that the governor's propsoal does not reflect the right balance within the state. Read more

Not surpisingly, the proposal has also touched off opposition from conservative groups.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Repositioning Saginaw

The counties around Saginaw, MI are repositioning themselves for "What's Next?" In part, they see their region's future in the manufacturing of medical instruments.

In the midst of the buzz, a local business dean has some wise words of caution: Some economic development officials go a bit overboard in assessing mid-Michigan's potential as a life sciences powerhouse. The dea's comments underscore an important point. EDPros cannot predict the future, and we need to careful not to raise unrealistic expectations. Read more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Finding new uses for an old GM plant

GM is closing down an assembly plant in Baltimore. Maryland EDPros are trying to convince GM to either donate the site to the state or to convert it into an R&D facility. Both proposals are long shots.

The GM officals provides some insight into how they deal with excess corporate real estate. Read more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
The research campus at the University of South Carolina

Earlier this week, officials in Columbia, South Carolina provided details of their plans for a research campus at the University of South carolina. Read more. The developer of the project says that up to five compmaies with serious interest in locating tothe campus, but he obviously has an interest in building a fire under officals to get moving. Read more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Michigan pulls one incentive package, puts another on the table

Michigan has pulled the $45 million incentive package for Kmart.

At the same time, the state has put a $28 million package on the table to encourage Ford to expand investments in Flint. Read more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Coopetition in the Triad

In the midst of an intense campaign to lure Dell, chambers of commerce in the Triad celebrated one year of cooperation. Read more.

As Delaware Governor Minner commented yesterday: "Businesses recognize the value of when to collaborate, when to cooperate and when to compete. States need to utilize a similar strategy."

posted by Ed Morrison |
Shopping locally in Phoenix

In Phoenix, EDPros have launched a "shop local" campaign during the holiday season. (We'll take a pass on the bad grammar.) This strategy is a good approach for reducing the leakage in your economy, strengthening local networks, and building good will with local retailers. Read more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Madison, WI: Practical steps to improve the business climate

An economic development commission in Madison, WI has come up with some practical recomendations about how to improve the business climate in the city. Read more.

You can download a copy of the report.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Still trying to find a location for Scripps in Florida

Dell in North Carolina may not the only big deal where intrastate competition becomes intense.

The Scripps deal in Palm Beach County is mired in the ditch. If you recall, Florida has invested $310 to $369 million (depends on who is counting) in an effort to become a major biotech player. The keystone: a new research facility operated by Scripps Research Insititute.

The delays are prompting other counties in Florida to consider luring Scripps to their back yard. Read more. The folks in Tampa are getting ready just in case. Read more.

posted by Ed Morrison |
More on muniwireless

Recently enacted legislation in Pennsylvania raises the visibility of municipal wireless systems. On one side: proponents of municipal wireless who are driven by the vision to spread wireless access as widely as possible. On the other side, communications companies worried about subsidized competition undercutting billion dollar investments in existing networks. Article 1 Article 2.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Supply chain dynamics

Changes in supply chain economics are driving changes in our manufacturing base. Learn more in an article from Phoenix.

posted by Ed Morrison |
Governors encourage collaboration

The governors of Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey have come together to support a regional approach to business development. Read more.

Governor Rendell wants to move beyond simple declarations. He is advaocating that the states sign a formal agreement on economic competition and that the states institute a scheme of revenue sharing to ensure that the incentives promote regional growth. Read more

posted by Ed Morrison |

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