Trends shaping economic competitiveness
February 12, 2011 Leave a comment
If Richard Florida’s thesis is correct (it might not be correct, unfortunately but Florida insists it is correct, of course), then we need to be doing quite a few things differently in the Spokane region:
Five key trends illustrate how this new phase of capitalism, which is based fundamentally on ideas, is shifting the nature of economic competitiveness:
- First, economic competitiveness now turns less on access to natural resources or giant factories and much more on harnessing human creativity—from the R&D lab and design center to the factory floor.
- Second, place is supplanting the industrial corporation as the key economic and social organizing unit of capitalism. Density, the clustering of creative people—in cities, regions, and neighborhoods—provides a key spur to innovation and competitiveness.
- Third, the rise of a new geographic unit – the mega-region – is supplanting both the nation-state and the metropolitan areas of cities and suburbs as the natural economic unit. The world’s 40 largest mega-regions places like Europe’s Amsterdam-Brussels-Antwerp, America’s New York-Washington-Boston Corridor, Asia’s Shanghai and Beijing axis, and India’s Mumbai-Poona and Bangalore-Madras corridor—produce two-thirds of the world’s economic output and nine in ten of its innovations, while housing less than 18 percent of its population.
- Fourth, innovation, competitiveness and rising living standards now require an increased and accelerated velocity for moving goods, people and ideas.
- Fifth, we are now seeing the rise of new environments for living and working which leverage these trends – harnessing and tapping the creativity of the largest number of workers, bringing people together in dense and flexible and arrangements, and accelerating the velocity of people and their exchanges. These experiments are in their infancy, but point the way to a more prosperous future.
Spokane has been becoming more isolated – the telecommuting meme of a few years ago seems to have faded in favor of face-to-face. Fewer non-stop cities served by the airport. Fewer daily flights. More investment in rail infrastructure – on the other side of the state. Ick.
What can or should we do to address this?
- Boris Loukanov: Could Creativity Reinvent the Capitalism? Umair Haque, Alex Bogusky and Michael Porter say YES! (borisloukanov.com)
- Is Creativity the Number 1 Skill for the 21st Century? (psychologytoday.com)