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Networks: A promising approach to poverty

Across the country, we are dealing with the consequences of the growing disparity in income between the rich and poor. How can we use new thinking about networks and collaboration to address these challenges? A promising pilot project has been underway for some years in Shreveport, Louisiana. Community Renewal International takes a decidedly different approach to the […]

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Rebuilding our industrial commons

For over 30 years, U.S. manufacturing has been in relative decline in the face of relentless competitive pressure.  Rebuilding our relative competitive position in manufacturing will not come easily. Years of manufacturing decline have eroded the “industrial commons” on which globally competitive manufacturing depends. The networks within the industrial commons resemble an “ecosystem” that speeds […]

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Conducting strategy with difficult people

When we introduce ideas around agile strategy, some folks get stuck on how the jerks will react.  For example last week someone asked, “What happens when you encounter loud, obstinate people? Don’t they simply disrupt the process?” The answer is, of course, “Yes, if you let them.” One of the beauties of our democracy is […]

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Overcoming the tyranny of stakeholders

An academic leader recently connected with me, frustrated. After two years of trying to implement large-scale system change within her university, her team had little to show for it. A relatively small initiative involving 30 students was underway, but little else. When I asked her to describe this process, her strategy, she eloquently explained how […]

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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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What makes good strategies?

To be effective should a strategy process be “open” with a lot of participation, or more closed to keep it focused? How can a strategy balance long term vision with short term wins? Are metrics important for control, or should we think of metrics more as a tool for learning? All important questions. Scott Hutcheson, […]

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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. How can we use new thinking about networks to address these challenges? A promising pilot project has been underway for some years in Shreveport, Louisiana. Community Renewal International takes a decidedly different approach to the […]

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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 of open innovation. With open innovation, the presumptions on information sharing are reversed. In the old world of our grandfather’s economy, regional actors presumed that information was confidential unless they took steps to release it […]

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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 all members of the group to be equally represented in the making of collaborative decisions. Civility is critical to the democratic process, because it protects the conditions under which  we can make decisions for ourselves. […]

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Education, skills and employment

Over the past months, as the economy has begun to recover, a fog has slowly gathered over the issues of education, skills and employment. Some have begun to question the value of education and the connection of education to employment. They ask, for example, Why are our college graduates underemployed? Others point to the growing […]

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Step 1: Creating new narratives

In the world of networks, narratives provide guidance. They convey knowledge. They generate learning. They create coherence. They reflect and […]

Agile Strategy is Like Ocean Kayaking

Today, organizations of all types are facing an uncertain future. While we hope for calm times in which we can […]

Connecting Collective Impact and Shared Value

Are the concepts of “collective impact” and “shared value” connected? If so, how? Consider first the case of collective impact. […]

Innovating in a world of complex networks

Betting against the U.S. economy has never been a smart idea. Time and again, our economy has shown remarkable resilience […]

Getting on with designing “What’s Next”

Sadly, the world is never quite so simple as politicians would have us believe. Our politicians have, for some time now, […]

It’s time for regions to start jumping the curve

Most economic development organizations rely on a standard pack of traditional economic development strategies: real estate and infrastructure development, regional marketing; […]