November 10, 2019

Chop Wood, Carry Water

The Japanese words kai (change) and zen (good) are used together to form kaizen, which means "change for better.”

It is a philosophy of continuous improvement and serves as the basis for the Toyota Production System and what Nick Saban, the Univers...

November 3, 2019

A Balanced Approach to Economic Development

Economic developers focus much if not most of their attention on industry recruitment, with manufacturing, almost by default, a primary goal.

If you look at identified target industry groups on economic development websites, ch...

October 27, 2019

Whoever Saw a ...

It was a common refrain during the Civil War among the infantry of both sides: "Whoever saw a dead cavalryman?"

The meaning -- We (the foot soldiers) do the hard fighting and they (those fellows on horseback) don't.

A few years back, I attended a confere...

October 20, 2019

Ride for the Brand

Economic developers could learn a thing or two from cowboys of the Old West who would "ride for the brand."

Back then, the brand went beyond that of a ranch’s symbol permanently marked on cattle to show ownership. When a cowboy rode for the brand, it m...

October 13, 2019

An Essential Infrastructure 

It is no coincidence that states that have fallen furthest behind on broadband access also have some of the highest levels of poverty. Inequality and the lack of broadband access have become inherently intertwined.

Without reliable high-speed...

October 6, 2019

Affordability Matters

High housing costs have reached a breaking point in some big metro areas, thwarting talent locating there, according to a new report from LinkedIn's Economic Graph team.

The report, based on a study of recent job-migration patterns in the 20 largest...

September 29, 2019

Back to the 'Burbs

Just like generations before them, as millennials settle down, have kids and look for cheaper houses and good schools, they're migrating out to the suburbs.

Suburban growth had slowed in the aftermath of the Great Recession. Millennials just graduating...

September 22, 2019

In Praise of Older Pros

It bothers me to see talented economic developers, especially older professionals who have proved themselves with a track record of success, to be out of work.

An ED organization in Alabama where I've done some consulting work recently contacted m...

September 15, 2019

The Problem with Strategic Plans

Frequently I will read requests for proposals from economic development organizations for strategic plans and think: "Bless their hearts. They don't know how to get there."

Maybe all that is wanted is a plan, so that everyone can feel goo...

September 8, 2019

Out of the Wilderness

My friend, we'll call him "Bob," was down and I was frankly concerned. Having lost his job as the head of an economic development organization, he struggled to find work in the field he loved.

Out of more than 75 applications to ED groups, Bob got s...

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