Creative Economy

Chapter 3 Teaser – Market Readiness

Market Readiness Market readiness is a bit of a funny term, which is appropriate since economic development is a bit of a funny business. The reason I say economic development is a funny business is because of its fundamentals. It’s … Read More

Chapter 1 Teaser – Creative Rural Economy

The most exciting accomplishment I’ve achieved in my career to date was to discover the economic potential of Prince Edward County. What I realized early on was that if Prince Edward County was going to be a successful and growing … Read More

Blogging my book outline and crowdsourcing your feedback

I’m going to write a book O.K. I’ve been threatening this for several years and now it’s time. I am going to write a book. Well to start with I am going to blog a book. Actually I am going … Read More

Creative Economy – The Horizontal Sector

Call it “Industry Agnostic” or a “Horizontal Sector”, the chart below illustrates how Creative Occupations and the Creative Economy cuts across all sectors in Ontario. Industry Agnostic In my work in Prince Edward County and now Peterborough an insight came … Read More

Creative Class Market Share. Are You Getting Yours?

Trenton, Ontario ‘s downtown has undergone a remarkable Quality of Place transformation over the last several years. Nice places are one of the keys to attracting Creative workers to your community. [portfolio_slideshow] Value in Numbers In my last blog I … Read More

3 Key Numbers in the Creative Economy 30-50-70

Happy New Year! I am relaunching my blog, now with a tighter focus. My new speaking, facilitation and workshop business, gives me a clear purpose to blog. I plan to share my expertise in economic development and the Creative Economy … Read More

Ontario Hydro
Economic development was born in the industrial age. Hydro companies were the first players in the investment attraction business around the early 20th century. Industrial development was the term of the day. They were looking for heavy industrial electricity users to sell the electricity to – makes sense.

Following on the success of industrial development by electricity companies, governments got into the game. When they attracted an industry it was like hitting a home run and sometimes a grand slam in terms of jobs, tax base and community economic growth.

This is where and when smokestack chasing was in it’s heyday and it worked because we were still in the growth phase of the industrial revolution. The industrial age peaked in the 50’s and first major fall out was felt during the oil crisis of the 70’s. This was at the dawn of the new economy which is more knowledge, innovation and creative worker based and in many cases made up of smaller enterprises although in the case of Google and RIM not always.

I’ve been in the rural economic development game and attending Economic Developer conferences for 9 years now. I could never understand why there was all this emphasis on industrial attraction when it was quite obvious that this was a dwindling and diminishing opportunity – where only a very few home runs and grand slams are available and mostly strikeouts arise out of attraction effort. I observed few winners and many losers with this focus. For every corporate relocation thousands of communities are swimming with the sharks to try and win the industrial attraction lottery. Good luck!

Meanwhile small businesses, entrepreneurial, knowledge based, innovative and creative economy opportunities are growing by leaps and bounds, with lots of singles, doubles and triples to be had day in and day out in the investment attraction and expansion game.

Over the years I have watched the emphasis diminish on industrial attraction, site selectors and international conglomerates attraction initiatives. I watched as things like retention and expansion of local business, small business, tourism, cultural development and quality of place, etc… was emphasized.

February 2010 for me marked a turning point. At the 2010 Economic Developers Conference of Ontario, there was little or no discussion on industrial investment attraction, site selectors and site selection criteria. Instead the focus was on the “New Economy”, it focused on the knowledge, innovation and creative economy and focused on social media as an economic development tool. This had been brewing for a few years, but I believe do to the economic realties the organizers made a conscious decision to focus on singles, doubles and triples success opportunities.

I believe 2010 is the turning point as the profession aligns, stakeholders and key decision makers will continue to align to the new realities of economic development. The new realities do not discount industrial attraction, but put it into perspective as merely one part of the mix. In any winning baseball game, you need singles doubles and triples to score, minimize your strike outs and take home runs and grand slams as bonuses as a game well played.

Any thoughts on this topic or perspective?

Creative Minds – Networking the Creative Economy

Kevin Stolarick, Research Director at the Martin Prosperity Institute helped me understand the power of networking when it comes to the creative class. In one of our project meetings he indicated that three networks were required in order to successfully … Read More

Geography Matters in a Creative Economy

I recently finished working with a terrific team on a 3 Region Creative Economy Analysis and Action Plan for most of Southern Ontario, minus Metro Toronto. The 3 regions included Eastern Ontario:Canada’s Creative Corridor, Durham Region:Creativity on the City’s Edge … Read More

As part of my Christmas week marathon of cheese meetings, I met with Gurth Pretty “Canada’s Big Cheese”. Gurth is a chef, author, runs his own cheese business and heads up the Ontario Cheese Society among other things.

My mission was to talk about our invest in cheese initiative and discuss how we could work with Gurth under the various hats that he wears to cross promote each other, drive traffic, membership, investment attraction leads and sales. Gurth was keen to work with us and his cheese counterparts in Toronto on our up coming brainstorming session.

Gurth has some exceptional and ambitious plans around the possibility of expanding the Ontario Cheese Society coast to coast and make it a National Association as well as being very interested in seeing an accredited cheese making school establish in (Ontario) Canada. While our invest in cheese initiative doesn’t see a direct role in realizing these dreams we are very interested and supportive of these exciting ideas.

I can see this topic coming up in our brainstorming session and I can see each of the stakeholders at the table having a vested interest in seeing the visions realized.

Should a national association and an accredited cheese making school become established, we will all win and become stronger and more successful in our individual missions. It may very well behoove us to collaborate to assist in realizing some of the dreams…

It is really easy to maintain a myopic view of one’s mission, but if we open our minds up to the possibilities of working together great things can be happen. It’s hard to argue that a strong National Cheese Association and an Accredited Cheese Makers school wouldn’t help us tap into potential cheese making start ups and new investments in our region, especially if we play some sort of supportive role.

These cheese folks are a really creative and collaborative crew, I am looking forward to working with these folks in the new year and seeing where things go.

My final “cheese collaboration blog” will address some exciting cheese promotion ideas starting to take shape.