Prosperity demands rapid adaptation or, if you prefer, resilience. Building a stronger regional economy comes from seeing with new eyes. How can our existing assets connect to new opportunities?
Here's an article out of Akron about the adaptation of manufacturing firms to new opportunities in health care markets. The trend revealed itself recently in a forum in Northeast Ohio. Read more.
As Doug Hall, former P&G exec and founder of Eureka Ranch notes, innovation opportunities can emerge anywhere. The process, however, requires discipline, and Doug has been introducing this discipline to smaller manufacturers nationwide though the Manufacturing Extension Partnership. Doug has been in West Michigan, and we have introduced Eureka Winning Ways to companies in North Central Indiana.
The U. S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration (EDA) recently released their Fiscal Year 2007 Annual Report which addresses the performance goals and measures for the various EDA program investments made during that time frame. The document is available here.
It's said that it is the ability to innovate that gives regions and communities an edge in the global economy. One way of innovating is to improve on or replace old ways of doing things. In South Bend, IN, the city is test-driving new technologies for dealing with the old problem of combined sewer overflows (CSOs) that can contaminate groundwater, rivers, streams and lakes when storm water overflows into the regular wastewater system. It appears that EmNet, LLC has developed "a number of tools, equipment, and infrastructure to address all the aspects of real time monitoring and real time control of CSOs. From radio enabled manhole covers with embedded sensors to advanced hydraulic and hydrologic models to test its patented distributed control system in any scenario." South Bend is testing this system, which could be used in many different countries. To learn more click here.
Researchers at Pennsylvania State University have released a report on rural broadband. Although the focus is on Pennsylvania, the researchers believe that their conclusions provide some insights into the challenges of bringing broadband to rural areas nationwide. The researchers emphasize that there is no single policy solution to increasing broadband penetration in rural areas. You can read more the report here and download a copy of the report here.
At the same time the National Governors Association has released a report on what states are doing to accelerate broadband deployment. You can read more about the report here. You can download a copy of the report here.
A new report by the Urban Land Institute and Ernst and Young caution about the deteriorating condition of infrastructure system in the U.S. and how it can erode our competitive advantages that we had so far. Today, there is a funding gap of about $ 170 billion to upgrade and bring up-to-date the existing infrastructure system. The study says that China is investing about 9 percent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on infrastructure, India is following suit, and Europe and Canada are revamping their existing infrastructure systems.
The authors also mention that new ways of planning for land use is required to balance the development and infrastructure. The old ways of unconnected transportation and land use planning might not be helpful in any way. The book presents various innovative methods, such as models of Public Private Partnerships, National Infrastructure Bank, etc. to finance the future infrastructure projects. Read an excerpt here and the whole study here.
Your Economy is a free resource that enables people to take a closer look at business activity in their local communities—and across the country. Just launched by the Edward Lowe Foundation, this appears to be a work in progress, but will certainly be a beneficial for community planners.