Next Generation Activity Idea for Concentrus, Inc.

September 29, 2010 at 12:16 pm Leave a comment

Concentrus Inc. needs to move economic vitality-stimulating activities to the next level in both Snohomish County and the Puget Sound region. It needs to be on the “innovating edge” with new ideas. It’s a big jump from the current business model being followed within the County. Here is an example of the type next generation idea Concentrus should go with.

To support high-growth clean energy businesses in America, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) and Arizona State University (ASU) will co-host the Southwest Energy Innovation Forum at ASU’s SkySong Innovation Center on October 18, 2010. This regional forum is part of a national effort to drive clean energy innovation and propel economic development and job creation in the United States. Read the article here.

You ask “What’s so innovative and next generation about this example?” Look at the players at this table. For one, the Kauffman Foundation, the leading private foundation supporting research and advancements in entrepreneurship nationally. Look at the other players — big time university and energy folks. Look at the focus — Clean tech business, which is something Snohomish County has its sights set on. Now, look at the national and international attention Phoenix will get from this event.

So you say “Snohomish County isn’t Greater Phoenix.” True enough, BUT Greater Seattle IS like Greater Phoenix. Concentrus Inc. should be an active, contributing, leading edge partner in advancing ideas like this one unfolding in Phoenix in October.

You say ‘We can’t do that because Seattle and UW must drive this.” True enough, BUT Concentrus can come up with the idea and set itself up as a testing ground for new ideas rolling out of a conference like this.

Here is a question to think about: “Which professors at University of Washington live in Snohomish County? Are any of these professors doing leading edge research? Do any big names live in the County? How can you engage them and get them and their STUDENTS involved in starting up new ventures WITHIN the County?

Snohomish County will need to strengthen its muscle and brainpower to play in this “higher arena” in the future. The conversation about “small business” needs to shift from “small business in the abstract” to “small business in the specific.” Move past this discussion about “doing enough for small business and getting them engaged” and move to a discussion about how do you create an innovative, exciting, customer-driven organization that is so cool that every small business in the County will feel compelled to join! What is the new focus with small business? It’s working to advance small businesses in specific industry sectors, including hospitality and tourism, the aerospace supply chain, the clean tech sector, advanced manufacturing, government contracting, etc. Build advocacy initiatives that work with smaller firms in emerging and established industries. Create financing pools to help smaller companies grow in specific industries. By the way, this is not the usual discussion about clusters, but it is about breeding small business success within specific sectors that matter to the County and region’s economic bases.

This type of thinking marks a truly advanced economic vitality organization.  It requires a deliberate move away from “me too” programs that every county in Washington State has to next generation programs that most counties in Washington State haven’t even conceived of. To do this, Concentrus Inc. must be led by a CEO who understands this and knows how to raise the bar with new ideas and action initiatives. This CEO must have a leadership board that understands and supports this type of thinking.

Do these things, and every community in the County will become a paying investor!

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Entry filed under: Adaptive Organization, Innovative Economic Development, Innovative Organization. Tags: , , .

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