Anecdotal story on the collapse of innovation economy in Spokane

Jason, an attorney with a degree in electrical engineering, lost his job with a Spokane patent law firm last May. Their income tumbled from a salary of $145,000 a year to $585 a week in unemployment.

via Homeowners burdened by bureaucracy when trying to get out – Spokesman.com – Feb. 20, 2011.

Previous coverage of this topic: Patent production in Spokane has dropped by a staggering 75% since 1998.

Patents are a proxy for the level of science and technology innovation that a region is capable of producing.

This anecdote also illustrates the low demand for highly skilled, highly educated workers in Spokane.

Political Comment

The collapse of the Spokane economy ought to be at the top of the list of what local politicians and cheerleaders discuss publicly. It’s not.  Except for frequent calls for new taxes and tax hikes – the consequence of a failed economy – politicians refuse to discuss the problems facing Spokane. Local politicians either fail to understand this situation, fail to lead or have chosen not to lead on this critical issue.

Instead we get continued false claims of a local innovation economy, claims that are unsupported by the actual data.  As noted in the past, our local chamber of commerce, GreaterSpokane, Inc., publishes a list of high tech companies in the area that is not close to accurate and another bizarre list of links to many companies, only some of which have a connection to aerospace, and then claiming we have a huge and booming aerospace sector (the list includes a high school robotics club web site that has not been updated since 2007!).  And more absurd claims including those from another promotional effort that are not true.

Instead of addressing these difficult problems, GSI covers them up with sloppy promotions and false or exaggerated claims. These clumsy and inaccurate promotional efforts are an embarrassment to Spokane.

It is frustrating that local leadership does not care about the reality on the ground.  I have recently spent a lot of time volunteering in a very poor section of town – something that brings the consequences of local leadership failures into stark relief.

Related: Creating an Innovation Culture  for Spokane

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3 Responses to Anecdotal story on the collapse of innovation economy in Spokane

  1. Thanks for your continued writing on this topic. Somebody’s got to do it.

  2. inlandnw says:

    Thanks for your supportive feedback. While the readership of the blog is growing very nicely, I do not know if anyone is listening except when comments are left. Thanks!

  3. Pingback: Update: Major tech/manufacturing firms leave Spokane « Spokane Economic And Demographic Data

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