New Reasons for Onshoring

June 7, 2011

Deep in the hearts of local economic development people everywhere is the hope that maybe, just maybe, jobs that have been outsourced to other countries will come back. It’s called “onshoring,” the idea that local companies who opened factories in other parts of the world will say, “this isn’t working…I’m going back to the old way of doing things.” Or rather, “I’m going back to the old place where I used to do things: the U.S.!”

But one of the newest reasons for this trend has nothing to do with our labor costs or quality issues. Rather, it’s the fact that workers here don’t get shot at.

Read the rest of this entry »


Weekly B-MOW: Washington Tourism Alliance Summit

April 1, 2011

Yesterday, I went to the Washington Tourism Alliance Summit. Talk about trying to make lemons into lemonade. As I’ve mentioned before, many different parts of the state budget are being cut significantly, but here is an industry that is having all of its state support eliminated. Literally, there will be no more state tourism office. It’s the 2011 equivalent of “Ford to City: Drop Dead.”

And yet rather than feeling sorry for themselves, they’re picking up the pieces and making it happen on their own.

Read the rest of this entry »


Weekly B-MOW: Seattle Chamber Intercity Study Mission

March 26, 2011

Every year, the Seattle Chamber does an “intercity study mission,” bringing regional business, government and community leaders to a peer city for a three day exploration of similarities, differences and, most importantly, the best practices that we can take back and copy in our own region. This past week, a group of us traveled for this year’s trip to San Jose for an Intercity Study Mission to Silicon Valley.

The reason to do a study mission to Silicon Valley is obvious: as much as we fancy ourselves as a leading region for innovation, we pale in comparison to the sheer breadth and depth and magnitude of what has come out of that region – HP, Google, Adobe, Apple, Yahoo…the list goes on and on. So, what are those things that we can take from them?

Here are my top three takeaways:

Read the rest of this entry »


Validation About Validation

February 11, 2011

It’s one thing to be right about something and have someone else agree with your ideas. It’s another thing entirely for someone to take your same idea and begin implementation of it! Which seems to be happening with our BETI project and the City of New York.

Read the rest of this entry »


It’s a(n Economic Development) War Out There

January 13, 2011

One of the slightly humorous/very telling things that happened at the Brookings Chicago Summit was a interesting linguistic choice by the folks from Munich. As I’ve mentioned, on the first day of that event, each of the three Metropolitan Business Plan regions presented on their plans paired with presentations from international regions: Ohio with the industrial economy of Cleveland, Twin Cities with the high talent/quality of life economy of Barcelona…and Puget Sound paired with the high tech economy of Munich.

It was actually a decent pairing, especially because of their focus on aerospace and clean tech. And yet, there was an important difference.  When Munich was discussing their comprehensive economic development initiative, they didn’t use “strategy” or “plan” like we do. Instead, they referred to it as the Offensive Zukunft Bayern: the “Offensive for the Future of Bavaria”!

Read the rest of this entry »


Weekly B-MOW: Brookings’ Chicago Summit Prep Meeting

November 19, 2010

Can a meeting to prepare for a meeting be considered a “Best Meeting of the Week” candidate? It’s one of those age old ethics/taste questions that are up to the individual, like “can I wear the t-shirt of the band to their concert” or “can I post about cheerleaders on the Prosperity Blog?” Luckily, I’m like New York Times Magazine’s The Ethicist, with my clear-eyed judgment about these things, and I say you can. Which clears the way for this week’s B-MOW: Brookings’ Chicago Summit Prep Meeting. Read the rest of this entry »


Weekly REDEW: Supreme Court Upholds Municipal Water Law

November 1, 2010

Much to my parents’ chagrin, I am not a lawyer (my brother is, and he lives closer to home…). And so you can imagine my surprise when I received an email from GordonDerr LLP proudly announcing the results of a court case that I didn’t even know was happening…and can’t quite understand the impacts of. Sound random? You bet. Which means that it qualifies as last week’s Random Economic Development Email of the Week! Read the rest of this entry »


Weekly REDEW: American Cities of the Future 2011/12

October 25, 2010

Well, it was a busy week, last week, with the Chamber’s Regional Leadership Conference and all (see this/last week’s B-MOW), so we’re just getting to last week’s REDEW this week. I know several of you were desperate over the weekend, hitting refresh over and over again, but hopefully you have recovered. So, without further delay, this week’s Random Economic Development Email of the Week: “North-Central-South American Cities of the Future 2011/12: Now accepting entries.” Read the rest of this entry »


Fuuuuuukuoka, Where the Wind Comes Sweepin’ Down the Plains

July 15, 2010

Now that I’m slowly adjusting back to this time zone, I thought I’d update everyone on last week’s meeting of the International Regions Benchmarking Consortium in Fukuoka, Japan. The IRBC, as its known, is our group of 10 regions from around the world that gather annually to look at specific issues in economic development and share best practices. This year, Fukuoka took their turn to host, and the topic was Research Universities and the Knowledge Region. What do those two have to do with each other? Glad you asked! Read the rest of this entry »


Hmmm…Maybe It’s Time to Act on that Talent Report

June 23, 2010

About a year ago, the International Benchmarking Consortium – our coalition of ten regions from around the world who share economic development best practices – held its annual conference on the theme of “Creativity and Talent.” The focus was on how to attract and retain all those highly talented people who can choose where they want to live and work. We even released a report with recommendations for how to create a regional talent recruitment and retention strategy, which I summarized for easy reading purposes. Of course, a year ago, retaining talent wasn’t a big concern…until now. Read the rest of this entry »


Philanthropy in Economic Development

June 7, 2010

You may have seen the article in today’s Seattle Times about how the Iacocca Family Foundation (yes, that Iacocca) is investing in a local biotech company. The human interest hook is that Lee Iacocca’s first wife, Mary, died from diabetes, and so the former Chrysler chairman is investing in potential therapies that can cure the disease. But the economic development hook is much more intriguing. Read the rest of this entry »


Show Me the Money

May 21, 2010

In tough economic times government and community leaders understandably look to their economic development organizations (EDOs—officially called ADOs in Washington, but mostly referred to as EDCs and EDBs) for a vision and strategy to boost employment and turns things around—and they expect to see results.

The Puget Sound Region is privileged to have a robust network of highly effective economic development organizations. Even in the midst of recession and now a sluggish recovery, we’ve seen new recruitment announcements, redoubled business retention efforts, and a host of exciting new cluster development programs.

But, after years of lean times and budget cuts, lately we’ve started to hear some question: Are we asking our economic developers to do too much with too little? Read the rest of this entry »


Daejeon Diary: Trees, Robots and Costco

April 18, 2010

Following up on Bill’s post about the Korea Study Mission, you can follow all the action of the trip here. The International Study Mission program has become the traveling university of the Greater Seattle area. For a region like ours which is so tied to the international economy, it is crucial our civic leadership understands the rest of the world.  In addition, we can learn from what others are doing to compete in the global economy and adapt those lessons to our region. Read the rest of this entry »


The Korean Success Story

April 18, 2010

Sam Anderson of the Master Builders 'listens' to a phone call through resonance

The 2010 International Study Mission, produced by the Greater Seattle Chamber and the Trade Development Alliance, is to Daejeon and Seoul, South Korea this week. I think we sometimes forget what a success story Korea is, but the country’s accomplishments are impressive. Read the rest of this entry »


What’s the Difference Between Silicon Valley and Siberia?

April 13, 2010

I can’t stop thinking about this NYT piece on the Russian government’s efforts to create their own “Silicon Valley,” a center for innovation and entrepreneurship. And it’s not only because of the quasi-comical Soviet-esque way they’re going about it (seriously, the idea was conceived by the Kremlin’s Commission on Modernization), but also because they’re struggling with the same questions that we and every other country still struggles with: how can you replicate the Bay Area’s success? Read the rest of this entry »