Wednesday, October 24, 2007

History is in the Telling

Recently I have had a number of conversations about story telling or the lack thereof. I continually express my belief in the power of each one of us relating our stories which also includes the open source behavior of passing on the stories of those with whom we have interacted.

Story telling is not something that is to be controlled or can be controlled. However, there will always be arguments about how something actually occurred or why an event happened; what is the “true” story. Writing a story down or filming it does not always come up with the answers and often times skews the story for all who only use one source. Therein lies one of the benefits of the internet in that there becomes multiple sources for determining for ourselves what is important, what happened, or why it happened. The human brain is remarkable in that it can seem to identify the wheat in the chaff.

In Ireland there is a rich tradition of storytelling with the storyteller going from village to village relating folk tales, history, and other happenings throughout the island. People of each community would look forward to the visit of the story teller, hungrily gathering together to hear stories that have been heard often before as well as those that are new to many ears. The stories themselves are important but the hearing in community also provides for the richness of the experience.

We and our communities live on through the stories that are told so it is important that we teach ourselves the stories both new and old. The new stories are grown out of the old; we learn from our mistakes only if we are aware of the mistakes of others in the community.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Have You Done Your Part Today?

Have you done your part to help enhance the civic space today? Have you introduced someone you know to someone else you know because you feel the two of them or the three of you have something in common? Have you thought about how two entrepreneurial people you know might benefit from talking with each other and actually done something about it?

If not, send an email introduction today and then follow it up with a contact of your own. Help your friends and acquaintances tell and spread their stories. Grow your collaborative network and enhance the quality connected place we know our community to be. Help make the box bigger; save others from working on their own outside the box.

Friday, October 12, 2007

National Revenue Sharing

There has been considerable talk and and some implementation in Northeast Ohio of revenue sharing among communities when companies relocate. How about looking beyond the smaller region and look nationally or even globally and share tax revenue with communities that lose businesses to the Midwest due a shortage of water (the most precious of resources next to air and brains)?

As time goes on and some resources become less available (water, coal, petroleum, minerals, etc) there will be greater pressure brought to bear to provide the diminishing resources to those with the most money making the resources less available for those with the least money. Such practices remove the community resources from one community replacing them with money in the hands of a limited powerful elite.

The Midwest at one time was referred to as the rust belt but is now the water belt. If Georgia and the Southwest want water and are willing to pay for it, how can we encourage the recycling of the Midwest water in the Midwest by having those dry communities meet their needs by moving their companies and residents to the Midwest?

We need to encourage keeping the Midwest water in the Midwest rather than shipping it away to the South and West.

Economic Development: Thinking With Our Brains and Hearts

In a recent email to a researcher in economic development I wrote of my definition of economic development. My definition, as are open source technology and practices, is ever evolving. I see Economic Development as the linking and leveraging of assets (money, brain power, quality places) to sustain and increase the amount of "good assets" (assets flowing into the community from outside the community) and to reduce the amount of "bad assets" (assets flowing out of the community) as well as to increase the speed of the assets moving within the community and the speed with which the community positively responds to negative changes. The same would hold true no matter what the geographic constraints.

Civic leaders need to decide how best to effect economic development so that it ends up being “good” economic development. To decide requires thinking and doing strategically. We need to think with our brains and our hearts not with parts of our anatomy and our personal wallets.