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Adapting the Fraunhofer model to the US market

This morning a friend shared an article that triggered some thoughts: Behind Germany’s Success Story in Manufacturing For the past year, I have been developing an approach with our colleagues at Fraunhofer to apply market-tested principles of innovation to Purdue. As the article notes, the Obama Administration is using the Fraunhofer model as a template […]

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Moving past gridlock: A path forward to reshaping our democracy

Our politics is a mess. Thirty years of increasingly partisan wrangling has left Congress incapable of taking on any complex policy task. Sadly, there is little prospect of escaping these ideological wars anytime soon. Partisan differences are growing, not shrinking. Over the past three decades, ideologues have seized control of our democracy and run it […]

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Visualizing regional innovation ecosystems: A high level perspective

Depending on your purpose, there are multiple alternatives for visualizing regional innovation ecosystems. These visualizations are best seen within the context of a strategic purpose. In other words, “What strategic outcome are you trying to achieve and how would a drawing help you?” This afternoon, I have been adapting a high level visualization initially presented […]

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Confronting complexity: Can we distinguish the simplistic from the simple?

A column by NYT’s Nicholas Kristof touched a nerve in the academy, when he suggested that academics had “walled themselves off”. Reaction from the academy is neatly summarized in this Harvard Press blog post. In my own view, both sides have it right. Our challenge is to distinguish the simplistic from the simple. The simplistic […]

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Here are my take-aways from the Global Innovation Summit 2014

Here are some of my takeaways from the Global Innovation Summit that I attended in San Jose last week, a fantastic event. Before you go any further, though: Pull out your January 2015 calendar and mark down on January 1: Attend Global Innovation Summit 2015. I’m taking these observations from my notes, so apologies if […]

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The growing popularity of Strategic Doing: Some questions answered

As the popularity of Strategic Doing grows, we are encountering some questions that deserve answers. Where has Strategic Doing worked? On places where Strategic Doing has worked, we have a number of good examples: We used Strategic Doing in a 14 country region in North Central Indiana to develop a wide range of workforce development innovations, many […]

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7 keys to guiding an open network

Since the railroads introduced them in the 1870’s, hierarchical organizations have dominated our economic landscape. They have shaped our thinking and behavior. Now that is changing. Open, loosely joined networks are emerging as significantly more important to creating value, accelerating innovation, and promoting sustainability. But how do we design and guide open networks? Many of […]

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Connecting technology development with market opportunities

Last week, I spent time with my Fraunhofer colleagues focusing on a particular challenge facing the pace and scale of innovation. The work in innovation management at Fraunhofer aligns well with the work we are doing at Purdue in the development of open, agile strategy. We are exploring how to combine these unique strengths into […]

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Re-imagining the economic development profession: What would it look like if…

Next week, I head back to work with our colleagues at Fraunhofer. As I prepare for the trip, I’ve been thinking about the future of the economic development profession. In the wake of the financial crisis and the near collapse of the financial system, hopes that the global economy would return to “normal” have faded. […]

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Strategic Doing in Australia: The Fraser Coast Fanatics take flight

Our Strategic Doing work in Australia continues to grow. The Fraser Coast Fanatics have formed and are storming ahead with a series of civic forums. One of the first steps in Strategic Doing is to practice the art of convening around topics that help people recognize and appreciate their assets. (Strategic Doing is an asset […]

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Economic Development Policy: Moving from incentives to co-investment

So much of our obsession with economic development in local and state government focuses on incentives. By some accounting, state and local incentives total over $60 billion a year, and there’s a business in enabling businesses to grab these goodies. If I were “king”, I would do away with the term “incentive” and focus our […]

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Universities as Anchors for Regional Innovation Ecosystems

In the midst of all the political gridlock in Washington, it’s easy to become cynical about the long-term competitive prospects of our nation’s economy. But shift your focus to the nation’s regions, and your outlook will change. There, leading edge universities have launched promising experiments to design and develop ecosystems — a series of overlapping, […]

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The emergence of Strategic Doing: Strategy for open, loosely joined networks

Conventional approaches to strategic planning do not work well to meet the complex challenges we face today. The reason is simple. Strategic planning does not work in open networks. Traditional strategy practices emerged from large hierarchical, “command and control” corporations. A small group of people at the top of the organization did the thinking, while […]

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Distinguishing innovation ecosystems from entrepreneurial ecosystems

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been exploring the challenge of improving the productivity of the ecosystem surrounding a research university like Purdue. There some interesting reading on the topic, but it appears to me that we are not carefully distinguishing between ecosystems designed to accelerate the formation of new companies and ecosystems designed to […]

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Developing the Next Alaska: Plugging Leaks and the Long Tail Economy

Alice Rogoff, Publisher of the Alaska Dispatch, asked me to put down some thoughts on economic development strategies for Alaska. Here are some thoughts.  Civic leadership is a generational game. Civic leaders, when they do their job right, are planting seeds to trees that they will never see. The question facing Alaska’s current generation of […]

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What makes good strategies?

To be effective should a strategy process be “open” with a lot of participation, or more closed to keep it […]

What if we can’t “fix” poverty?

Across the country, we are dealing with the consequences of the growing disparity in income between the rich and poor. […]

Strategic Doing Down Under

A week ago, my Purdue colleague Scott Hutcheson and I traveled to Fraser Coast north of Brisbane to introduce Strategic […]

Inside a regional innovation cluster

Clusters that accelerate regional innovation are not simply agglomerations of like-situated firms. Instead, regional innovation clusters form around an ethic […]

Mapping and linking assets to find opportunities

Strategic Doing provides a discipline for thinking and acting strategically in open, loosely joined networks. Four questions frame the strategy […]

In a democracy, civility is not optional

In a democracy, civility is not optional. The reason is simple. Democracy describes the process of self-government. It calls for […]