Thursday, July 20, 2006

Living with a Disability

We all live with a disability: we are human. We make mistakes. We have other shortcomings. We are not perfect.

What most of us have to counter that disability is hope. We also have each other. Community is what brings us together and supports us all in our seeking to maintain or improve ourselves and each other.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

"Strap on Your Goggles!"

As a Director of the Institute for Open Economic Networks, also known as I-Open, (click here) I help teach and sustain behaviors in regional economic activity guided by Open Source Economic Development. The principal behaviors addressed lead to strengthening brain power, connecting innovation and entrepreneurship networks, building quality, connected places, strengthening civic habits of dialogue and inclusion, and promoting an effective brand through sharing positive stories of activity.

In our process we develop innovation zones in a region through civic forums that focus on story telling of best practices, experiences, building trust, and deepening knowledge of ourselves and our communities. Not only is there much learning and collaborative networking taking place with these forums, there also arise initiatives through alignment of individuals’ interests. Through the initiatives growth occurs through creation of entrepreneurial enterprises but also the creation of supportive environments for new activity.

Most recently, the past week a remarkable meeting took place at Nead Brand Partners (click here) , one of the supporters of our activity in the midtown area of Cleveland. In the midtown area where I-Open has been building an innovation zone, the initiatives and partners have grown enough that there is a demand to grow the hot spot out from Midtown to the surrounding neighborhoods that are not in “Midtown.” There is now discussion to further involve residents, not just civic leaders and entrepreneurs. People involved with several of the neighborhoods are excited with what has been going on in Midtown and are requesting that the innovation zone be reenvisioned and renamed so as to discourage concerns over "ownership" and to encourage inclusion and participation throughout the region.

There is now a call out to find a "brand" for the innovation zone that is unique to the area as was "Midtown My Town." The I-Open civic forum on August 9, 2006 is now looking to be a kick off of that expansion with participation from many neighborhoods and local development corporations. There will be an envisioning process taking place as took place with the initiation of the Midtown Innovation Zone.

As has been said before, "Strap on your goggles!" The zones are zooming.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Sustainable Activity

For years our leaders have been telling us “If you want something done, give us more money public or private. We know what to do and will do it for you.” And for years they put together a strategic plan which gets packaged nicely and put on the shelf next to all of the other strategic plans. Occasionally we listen to someone who tells us that he can think out of the box and will do the right things for us. He ends up making the decisions for us and we gain no capability for sustainability because we have not increased our own abilities.

Occasionally someone comes in and listens to us and our ideas and then goes off and picks what he feels are the best ideas, decides what to do, and tells us to do it. There is a tremendous value placed upon both the people and organizations with money and the money itself. We need to enlarge our thinking to place a greater value on brain power of each of us. We need to value more the individual efforts of smaller organizations working together. We have non-profit organizations that are jockeying for control, growing or sustaining their own fiefdoms. They are spending their energies and monies on protecting themselves rather than furthering their missions.

We need to listen to the wonderful ideas that are being put forward. Then we need to align the ideas in focused initiatives. Empowering all to work together behind these initiatives creates the ability to move forward with lower cost and greater speed. Building trust in getting initiatives done builds sustainability. Sustainability builds a stronger economy.