Big Ideas of (the First Half of) 2011

I promised in my last post that I would do one final entry on the Prosperity Blog before I leave the PSRC. And, since today is my last day, there’s no time like the present to make that happen. I also promised that this last post would be entirely self-indulgent and nostalgic, and I can think of no post that fits the bill more than the annual Prosperity Blog Year In Ideas feature – the yearly tradition in which I point out to you all how good my thoughts on economic development are, in Top Ten format.

Since it’s only halfway through the year (June 30 is less than two weeks away!), I’ll cut that Top Ten down to Top Five. And so, without further ado…and with no more ado ever again by me on this blog…here are the best practical proposals for improving our region’s business climate and competitiveness (and the most impractical, sky’s-the-limit ideas) I’ve had so far in 2011.

5) Do an analysis of whether there are too many separate and/or uncoordinated economic development organizations in the region, including the idea of creating an ArtsFund for Economic Development

4) Use the BETI program to take advantage of the fact that “buildings are the new iPhones,” which is especially possible because it’s so “cloud-y” in this region.

3) Even though I’ve said it a thousand times before, it bears repeating: Try to take advantage of the fact that our region has a secret automotive industry cluster that no one talks about!

2) Capitalize on the major changes happening in the world of drug development to make this region increasingly attractive to Big Pharma investment

1) And, of course, the biggest of the Big Ideas is obvious: find a way to produce more STEM degrees from our state colleges and universities so that we can meet the growing unmet need for companies looking to fill these jobs (by the way, Xconomy agrees). Luckily, we made an important stride toward that goal this legislative session!

I look forward to working with the Prosperity Partnership and all of you to make these happen – in my new role as the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce’s Federal Policy Director and President of the Washington Council on International Trade. Best wishes for a great second half of 2011, and beyond!

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