Big Ideas of (the First Half of) 2011

June 17, 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.

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A Word About Prosperity Partnership

June 9, 2011

One of the nice things about leaving the Prosperity Partnership is I get to wax nostalgic and poet about my five years on the job. So, this post and the next one are going to be an entirely self-indulgent trip down memory lane…but you just might learn something too!

For this post, I want to tackle the all important question that’s probably been in the back of your mind over the past six years…maybe keeping you awake at night or sitting back at your desk and feeling that annoying itch in your brain. It’s a question that’s both shockingly simple and straightforward, yet annoyingly complex and elusive. No, it’s not “How did Eric get to be such a hilarious yet insightful blogger?”

The simple question is this: What is the Prosperity Partnership?

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Schinfeld Goes International

June 9, 2011

We’ve done our fair share of hellos and goodbyes over the years here at the Prosperity Blog. We acknowledged our former Director of Economic Development taking flight to Boeing and welcomed our new Director of Economic Development to the fold. We even said farewell to one of our team members in the last paragraph of a Weekly REDEW post.

But this sendoff post is the hardest because, well, it’s for me! After five long years at the Prosperity Partnership – and 383 posts (!) on the Prosperity Blog – I’m off to a new, um, “world of adventure.”

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Weekly FWSR: Fast Cars, Fun Games and Meat-related Typos

May 16, 2011

It’s time once again for my personal favorite feature at the Prosperity Blog: Fun With Search Referrers! It allows us to talk about the issues we care about in a concise, poignant and sometimes hilarious way. How is that different than every Prosperity Blog post you ask? Well thank you for the compliment! Did I mention that you look like you’ve lost some weight?

Anyway, here’s the latest Fun with Search Referrers, featuring fast cars, fun games and meat-related typos.

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“The Goal of Business isn’t to Create Jobs.”

May 6, 2011

Yesterday was the kick-off meeting of the Regional Economic Strategy Technical Advisory Group…or, as I like to call them, the RESTAG (you already know from things like B-MOW and REDEW that I’m terrible at acronyms). For those of you who have been reading about our preparations to start developing a new Regional Economic Strategy, you’ll be happy to hear that we’ve moved from talking about doing it to actually starting!

And start, we did. With about 50 people packing the PSRC Boardroom, we introduced our consultants – TIP Strategies of Austin, TX – and got people thinking about the major issues that are going to frame our thinking about the strategy: things like the increasing divergence in economic opportunity between people with and without college education, the impacts of our aging workforce and trends (both positive and negative) with regard to manufacturing.

But what stood out the most from the TIP Strategies presentation wasn’t any of those, but rather a point so simple yet fundamental that it was almost revolutionary to hear. And, with full attribution to them, I wanted to share it with all of you: “the goal of business isn’t to create jobs.”

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Economic Development Through Tax Incentives

April 8, 2011

Often, us in the Washington state economic development world mention the challenges that we have in not being able to engage in traditional economic development incentives. Because of our state constitution, we can’t do a lot of the direct financial offerings to companies that other states do, as it violates our “lending of credit” provision.

But this article in the trusty New York Times points out that using incentives to lure companies across state borders can be a tough way to do economic development“:

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One More Post about the Puget Sound and Cars

April 8, 2011

So I was on the treadmill at the gym this morning at 6 am (who’s the man!) watching SportsCenter, and on comes a commercial for Callaway golf clubs. I mean, it’s the Masters this weekend in Augusta, so no surprise, right? Except, the Callaway commercial opens with a picture of a Lamborghini and starts talking about their major strategic partnership between the sports car and the driver (ha! double entendre! but I’m referring to the golf club.) What, you may ask, is the connection?

Composite materials, of course. And where is Lamborghini developing their composites? The University of Washington. In fact, it’s mentioned in this Seattle Times article: “…the lab is a sort of hub for Lamborghini to work with the school, Boeing and other partners, including golf-club manufacturer Callaway and Intel.”

And so I’ll say it one more time. Our region has a secret automotive industry cluster that no one talks about!

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