7i in Western North Carolina

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Western Carolina University is hosting an interesting forum, called i7.

The seven "i's": imagination, ideas, insight, ingenuity, innovation, invention and inspiration.

Read more.

WCU has launched a Millennial Initiative that includes a regional economic development strategy. The forum makes some interesting, and important word choices. Panels will be called "strands". These reflect important conversational threads that will be important to the future of the region. Equally important, the university is crossing old jurisdictional boundaries. Philosophy, arts, health care, and tourism will be part of the event.

Why is this important?

In the future, economic development will not be so much about "things" (convention centers, industrial parks). Economic development is increasingly a matter of managing complex learning through a civic process of public participation and leadership direction. In a knowledge economy, the communities and regions that can engage in complex learning will thrive. They will learn faster. They will spot opportunities faster. And they will act faster.

We need to think and act in new ways, as we move from industrial forms of capitalism (with its emphasis on managerial command and control systems) to economic systems based on networks. WCU's 7i Future Forum embraces this dynamic.

posted by Ed Morrison |

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