One of a Thousand Inconvenient Truth Leaders...

Don't miss this week's 2007 Midtown Brews Series kick off conversation -

Thursday, January 11, 2007

''Our Global Imperative,'' conversation is lead by Jeff Friedman, partner in Webtego, an Ohio based technology company. Jeff is one of a thousand Inconvenient Truth National Leaders telling the story about planet sustainability challenges and solutions. You can learn more about The Climate Project here.

Cleveland Casinos impact on Midtown

Ed Morrison has recently published an articulate and simple look at the disastrous consequences of Casinos in Cleveland to Midtown.

View the presentation "Impact of Cleveland Casinos on Midtown," by Ed Morrison, Director, I-Open here.

You can read the Crains Cleveland opinion piece, "Time for a New Cleveland Business Leadership?" by Ed Morrison here.

The Cleveland Empowerment Zone Business Development Partners Group

Here is the list sent by our partner, A.C. Alrey:

The Cleveland Empowerment Zone Business Development Partners Group

City of Cleveland Departments/Divisions/Offices
1. Cleveland Empowerment Zone Office Staff (those with direct contact to businesses)
2. Workforce Development Division of Econ. Development Department
3. Mayor’s Office of Equal Opportunity
4. Department of Community Development
5. Planning Department

CDCs involved in the initial creation of the EZ
6. Consortium for Economic & Community Development (Hough)
7. Fairfax Renaissance Development Corporation
8. Glenville Development Corporation – Darren Harris
9. MidTown Cleveland, Inc.

CDCs located within the EZ and Buffer Areas
10. St. Clair – Superior Development Corporation
11. Burton, Bell, Carr Development Corporation
12. Northeastern Neighborhood Development Corporation
13. Maingate Business Development Corporation
14. The Quadrangle, Inc. -- Bill Beckenbach, Ex. Dir.
15. Garrett Square Economic Development Corporation (currently a defunct group, but may be revived in the future)

Financial, Technical Assistance & Business Services Organizations located within or focused on the EZ
17. Cuyahoga County Development Department
18. The Urban League/SBDC Multicultural Business Development Center -- Debra Meager
19. The Entrepreneurial Academy
20. The WECO Fund, Inc. -
21. Shorebank / Shorebank Enterprises – Courtney McClain
22. Great Lakes Chamber of Commerce – Melvin Hendrix
23. Christian Business League
24. The Northeast Ohio Immigrant & Minority Business Alliance (IMBA)
25. Alex CDC
26. The Institute for Open Economic Networks (I-Open)
27. Various labor force vendors that have contracts with the EZ Office

Area Financial Institutions located within or focused on the EZ
28. KeyBank
29. First Merit
30. SkyBank
31. National City
32. US Bank
33. Charter One
34. Huntington
35. Fifth Third
36. Chase (Bank One)
37. Merrill Lynch – Theron Cyrus

Various Ward Offices located within the EZ Boundaries
36. Wards 4
37. Wards 5
38. Wards 6
39. Wards 7
40. Wards 8
41. Wards 9
42. Wards 10
43. Wards 13

If you would like to contact A.C. please do at:

A. C. Alrey
Manager, Business & Community Affairs
Cleveland Empowerment Zone Office
Department of Economic Development
3634 Euclid Avenue, Suite 200
Cleveland, OH 44115

Phone: 216/664-4170 x230
Fax: 216/420-8522
City Webpage:


Ed Morrison recently received a note from a long time EDPro reader suggesting the online newsletter, Byvation, whose editor writes about creativity, innovation and disruption. If you are interested, you can sign up for the free letter here.

The June issue features the article, "Shh...Don't Wake Up the Big Dog". Here are excerpts offering advice to entrepreneurs:

"...Make new friends In the early days, it's best to operate in stealth mode. Create prototypes, acquire funding quietly (i.e. friends, family, and angels), and most importantly - get customers...Making friends with bigger dogs offers you protection. And, when you're growing up - that's what you need. Joint Ventures, Alliances, and Strategic Partnerships opens doors to customers and lets you deal with others from a position of strength - instead of weakness. When the big dogs throw up legal and marketing roadblocks, you'll be able to persist in the fight...

...As an upstart - either a classic entrepreneur or a newly created corporate spinoff, you need to think disruptively. Like a growing puppy, you need to tip-toe around the big dogs. If they growl, back away. Find a new angle of attack. Think about who you need as strategic partners, know when you'll need them, and how you'll persuade them to join your cause.

In the end, your choices are 1) To compete with the big dogs, or 2) Strike disruptively. If you chose to mix it up with the big dogs, the odds are against you. And, even if you win, you'll probably end up in a no-profit zone, just like the auto industry or the airlines. At least disruption gives you a fighting chance."

...I especially like the author's focus on disruptive products and strategies. But there is another important application of disruption: as it applies to behavior.

Our first impulse is to think of non-status quo behavior as negative. But what if the established behavior no longer provides value? Disruptive appreciative behavior means the resulting activities will be different. This is how change occurs.

Disruptive behavior is critical to enable shifts to occur in environments if mature patterns of behavior stifle innovation and entrepreneurship. This is the case in Northeast Ohio. Entrepreneurs struggle for value in an environment still modeling post industrial hierarchical thinking, behavior and activity, stifling innovation.

Byvation offers good advice. I can think of no better way than to work "under the radar"; this allows new work to move forward creatively and uninterrupted in a continuous test environment, at least in the early stages.

One point that needs to be appreciated: leaders who are inventing and building new methods for innovation need to "lean into" each other.

A kind of banding together. Not necessarily work together, but like in chamber music performance, play forward relentlessly and powerfully, appreciate and be aware of fellow colleagues efforts, but constantly look for new avenues of opportunity - disruptive as they may be.

New Fun with Drupal:

Check out this Drupal site called

Awesome functionality!

Here is the Midtown My Town home page here.

Sign on and get your account networked!

Thinking about NEO in New and Different Ways: MegaRegions & Networks of Capability

Ed Morrison sends this link to America 2050 - addressing mega regions, their capabilities and potential for regional development alignment.

You can download a very interesting presentation by Kip Bergstrom to the recent Fifth Annual State of the Region Conference: “Responding to A Changing World” in Toledo, Ohio this past May 22, 2006. "Thinking About Regions as Networks of Capability" here.

Bergstrom refers to work done by Bob Yaro of the NY/NJ/CT Regional Plan Association and Armando Carbonell of the Lincoln Institute.

Ed Morrison continues...

"The Fund for Our Economic Future could accelerate its efforts by learning how other regions are promoting innovation through open networks.

We have distilled this model as Open Source Economic Development. We are now teaching this model to other economic development professionals:

We are deploying this model in Indiana under Leadership Indiana, the governor's Accelerating Growth initiative and the workforce innovation initiative (WIRED) guided by Purdue. It is also the model we are following with CuyahogaNext.

Among the interesting insights, is one on the last page. I quote it below.

...'Why is it better for Toledo to position itself as part of the greater Detroit metro as opposed to just focusing on the Toledo metro?

It has to do with the role of networks in innovation. The network is the common denominator between the traditional notion of a cluster and the new focus on capability. The clusters which Michael Porter describes in his work are the relatively static arrangement of galaxies and stars and planets after the big bang of disruptive innovation.

There is still movement in the system (sustaining innovation), but nothing like the explosive energy that created the system in the first place. As Mike Carroll notes, the cluster is not the economic geography of the regional market…that is simply the stage set for social networks among individuals in organizations. Likewise, disruptive innovation is enabled by dense, deep and broad social networks, which create new clusters by combining elements of existing clusters in new ways… specifically through new business models that combine people, products and processes to create value that someone is willing to pay for.

These networks cannot just exist in virtual space, because too much of the knowledge required for innovation is tacit and therefore difficult to communicate electronically. Innovation emerges from intense face-to-face interaction among diverse teams of people with complimentary capabilities. This need for face-to-face interaction to drive innovation is the primary source of regional competitive advantage.

The physical extent of easy, regular, face-to-face interaction defines the possible geographic scope of the region. The interstate highway system enables easy face-to-face interaction at the metro scale. High speed rail may someday enable it at the super city or mega regional scale.' "

This is excellent guidance for all of us working in Northeast Ohio to strengthen innovation and entrepreneurship by leveraging new practices and tools for Open Source Economic Development. Take a look at the report, it's pretty cool and contains good information.

Updates on the Charleston Digital Corridor: Model for Midtown

The Charleston Digital Corridor is our model for Midtown.

Ernest Andrade, the city economic development official who launched the Charleston Digital Corridor, is stepping down after 18 years in municipal government. He will go into private consultancy to teach other regions how to apply best thinking. Read the article here.

The CDCorridor website offers a thorough and brilliant definition of organization, alignment and creative approaches to initiating and strengthening a technology industry destination. Visit the site here.

Ed Morrison is a Founding Director of the CDCorridor. We will ask Ernest to come to Cleveland to share his knowledge with entrepreneurs in Midtown.

Digital Corridor chief resigns: Architect of Charleston program to become private consultant

The Post and Courier

Ernest Andrade, the city economic development official who launched the Charleston Digital Corridor, is stepping down after 18 years in municipal government to take his strategies on the road.

He has incorporated a consultancy dubbed Andrade Economics to teach other communities the techniques he used to cultivate a budding technology industry in Charleston. His last day as a city employee will be Aug. 30.

"I am professionally at my creative best and I want to be able to share with the rest of the world what I've learned," Andrade said. "This isn't something that necessarily needs to be kept in a bottle."

It was unclear Friday if the city has a succession plan. Mayor Joe Riley could not be reached for comment, and only a few members of City Council had heard of the resignation.

During his time with the city, Andrade, 42, didn't dangle incentives, wine and dine CEOs or cold-call prospects. He was also not much for meetings, studies and bureaucracy. Instead, Andrade took small, quick steps to fertilize Charleston's tech landscape, such as lining up parking, tracking open office space and plugging newcomers into the network of area financiers and like-minded techies.

"The position we've taken is to hit small singles every day, so even if that big economic development home run doesn't come, you're going to have successes," he said. "It's the epitome of an initiative crafted by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs."

Savannah's Creative Coast, a nonprofit economic development organization, studied the Digital Corridor's model before it launched in 2003, according to executive director Chris Miller.

"(Andrade) is clearly ahead of his time," Miller said. "We're talking about small, fast, flexible entrepreneurs. They don't have time for bull and bureaucracy."

Andrade's approach helped win Digital Lifestyle Outfitters, a Raleigh-based company that sells iPod gadgets, which moved here in mid-2004. Jeff Grady, the company's chief executive officer, said Andrade was an ambassador when his team came to check out Charleston.

"It was a very personal experience," he said. "(Andrade) picked us up and drove us around town and had some potential office space already identified for us to look at. ... I don't even think the people in Raleigh knew what we were doing."

Since relocating here, Digital Lifestyle has grown from four local workers to 20 and from $22 million in annual revenue to more than $100 million.

City Councilman Henry Fishburne said results like that will be missed when Andrade goes.

"I was always impressed with his intelligence level and his effort, his dedication," Fishburne said. "If he leaves the community and if he leaves the peninsula, it will leave a gap there. I hope we can fill it sometime in some way."

Andrade was born in Kuwait, grew up in India and immigrated to the U.S. in 1981. He earned a bachelor's degree from the College of Charleston and a master's in public administration from the University of South Carolina before joining the city's Planning Department 18 years ago, and later moving to economic development.

Having seen both sides of outsourcing, Andrade shifted his focus away from industrial businesses and launched the Digital Corridor initiative in 2001.

"There was no ah-ha moment," he said. "But there were moments when you pulled people aside privately and asked them to be very candid. And out of that candor came the strategy."

Since its inception the Corridor has grown from 18 to 78 member companies. The initiative's major accomplishments include setting up an online "talent portal" connecting local companies to job seekers and building a "touchdown space" where a small startup or relocating business can work until it secures office space. The Digital Corridor was also the driving force behind the city's free wireless Internet, which has been spreading slowly across the peninsula since March.

Andrade said the initiative was "painfully underfunded" since its inception, but he pointed out that tight finances helped his organization run efficiently. The corridor budget was $142,000 last year, a sum that included the salaries of Andrade and development coordinator Kimberly Demetriades.

Fishburne said he thought Andrade felt unappreciated and was frustrated with the city's financial commitment. "I think in general he was hoping for more support and hoping to do bigger and better things," he said.

Andrade will continue to serve as director of the Digital Corridor Foundation, a nonprofit made up of local tech executives that loans money to area startups. He will also do some work with Keane & Co., a consultancy launched in late 2004 by Tim Keane, former city planning director. Andrade is a silent investor in the firm.

Reach Kyle Stock at 937-5763 or

A Good Overview of Network Theory Applied to Neighborhood Rebuilding

Here is an excellent story about network theory applied to community engagement from Lawrence, Massachusetts.

"Network Organizing: A Strategy for Building Community Engagement" by William J. Traynor and Jessica Andors, describes a community not unlike Midtown, an environment that suffers from social deficits and subsequently lack of network infrastructure.

These kinds of landscapes, the result of mature aging hierarchical environments, offers tremendous opportunity to those ready to grasp fresh community rebuilding activity.

Read the article and explore the National Housing Institute website here.

LIVE BLOG: Kudzai Shava: Empowering People with Disabilities: Education is the Key

Kudzai works for the Midland State university and Dir., for the Disability Students. The job is to integrate students into activities. Kudzai was sighted until 3 years until due to measles became blinded. In Africa, as in most other countries, any children suffering disability is a great handicap to the entire family. Kudzai was sent to school by his family as the demands of taking care of him were too great for the family. Many students train for public service because they are supported by charity. Because of this support Kudzai feels indebted to society and has dedicated his work to helping others.

Just being here in the United States is an honor. Kudzai and a sighted student did research and data collection and then came to the US as a scholar. Kudzai could see an opportunity to provide information for the blind about disease. Africans wondered that this must be because society wanted them to die.

Several people in the room have visited Zimbabwe. There are many networked connections in the room. It is a beautiful place.

Every country needs to have some sort of education. The vehicle to empowerment is education; this allows women and children to excel.

Zimbabwe population is 12,000,000
Disabled population is 1,200,000
Resourcves are lacking even to substantiate exact statistics
Limited opportunities and resources for empowering of the disabled: education, employment, support/sustenance

The main problem - even outside of HIV - is education. There is also the predjudice factor. Just like the US, the traditional methods of financing demand collateral. What kinds of collateral do the disabled have? This is itself, a prejudice.

Baseline research: Pilot Study

Findings: there are significant gaps in youth's knowledge about sexuality, HIV and AIDS/Usual methods of obtaining information: Hearsay, Overheard conversation, Experimentation; Preferred methods: Braille, Audio, Drama, Music, Poetry and Asking Questions/Eager to become peer educators

In the pilot study a lot of disturbing things were identified:
Young women were not familiar with what a condom feels like; they did not know what the difference is between HIV and AIDS (We are looking at some of the pictures of the children)

Peer Education Training
Blind people who can talk with peers who are trained about HIV and AIDS; 27 visually impaired studetns and 4 blind teachers
With a small grant from Hiram College blind students and 4 teachers were trained over 2 weeks with discussions, drama, music, poetry . 118 interviews were conducted of random selections. This is the contribution of culutral heritage to training. Certification was awarded to the interviewees who went on to train others.

Need for Empowerment and Support
Educated adults who are visually impaired: 110 school teachers; 10 social workers; 10 lawyers; 6 rehabilitation technicians
Alternative methods of sustenance: blind school drops outs gop to live in blind communities; begging on the street; emigration to neighboring countries to beg ( similar to the Mexican border dilemia
Now there is a problem with funding of students as funding for universities are cut.

Education in Zimbabwe
Literacy rate is 80 to 90%; over the past 5 years governmental support has been cut for universities;

Proposed Solution
Extend peer education project & HIV and AIDS education to all Zimbabwe schools where disabled live

Micro-Financing Revolving Fund
Income generating projects: to support academic schoalrships, to support practical skills training; develop business plans for income generating projects

Academic Scholarship Fund
High schools tudetns going into terit

Practical Skills Training
Form groups; Train group memebers in basic bookkeeping and financial administration; skils and knowledge in crafts market gardening, farming, other marketing projects. Start internet cafes.

It is not that people with disabilities cannot do it; it is that they need to be taught. By growing simple things, like mushrooms, you are growing healthy foods and making money to feed your family.

Cross-Cultural Networking Efforts
Funding, Educational exchange programs: professional, studetn internships; sharing ideas and capacity building through seminars and workshops. There is little money coming into Zimbabwe. This is the time to bring resources and gather groups to share knowledge and resources.

I-Open is a very appropriate name; we are not talking about seeing with the eye, but we're talking about opening the eye in you and opening the opportunities in Ohio, Kentucky, Oklahoma. In the research panel at the meeting this morning today the research panel began to look 10 years out - to look out and see the possibilities.

We should see opportunities where other people are blinded and they cannot see. Some people can see things that others cannot see. We as I-Open should try to promote and help each other to see new opporutnities. We, as I-Open, should set an example for others and work together to help see opportunities.

Question: I s there an opportunity in Zimbabwe to provide managment and managment training.
Yes! There are efforts going on which are ready for joint entrepreneurial ventures.

Julia Zellner visitied Zimbabwe in 1991. By American standards, it was bad.
A: Now it is 200,000 of exchange for every 1 American dollar. On the Black Market - a more realistic rate - is closer to 300,000 per $1. There are stampeeds at the supermarkets.

$100,000 dollar bill is the largest denomination. But this does not buy anything of substance. Groceries for a family of 4 are several million.

Marimba band performed by students earns money to feed the students. A new band is needed as the instruments are too old. The students are also dancing and could be choreographed.

What is done for people who have been diagnosed to have contracted the disease?
A: There are 300 organizations that address HIV and AIDS. But none of these address the blind. People with disabilities are left out of programs. That is why we are still at the awareness stage: how to be tested, what the disease is about and counseling.
Awarenss is still being developed; Kudzai's school addresses some of these needs.

Q: where and what other groups will host you to speak?
A: Cleveland Sight Center. Can you suggest any other places where Kudzai could speak? It is important to visit groups with similar interests to exchange learning and best practices.

Please contact Kudzai if you are interested in working or sharing information listed below:

Mosh Pit as Innovation Model

Here's a relatively new blog with an entry about Old and New models for innovation. They offer a good comparison below:

Make sense to you? Learn more here.

LIVE BLOG: Building Sustainable Food Networks

Our partner and Director of Library at Myers University, Rich Brhel, is reviewing the Myers Business Directory; a platform to serve the local business community. Survey Monkey is the Internet platform used for the 18 survey questions developed by Rich and Joyce Banjac, Dean of the Myers Business School. The survey is directed to companies, organizations. This is a trial phase and the University is looking for feedback on the questions for the official roll out in July. Rich is also coordinating a list of library resources that connect to the various listings. If the University develops classes on information literacy, the research could be done by the students, offering another way to integrate students with business. One of the questions addresses whether or not the company would be willing to engage students.

There are several ways to engage others in Midtown. Forums are new open "civic" spaces that offer anyone who has initiative to come together and to work on transformative white papers, proposals and new business development.

Melvin Hendrix leads the forum today. Melvin thinks deeply about the urgency of innovation for all ways sustainable. Melvin's passions are in cultivating soil and good water management. He has in depth experience as a practitioner working across the world and, in Africa. Melvin specializes in writting curriuclum to teach others about these subjects and practical next steps in new applications.

There is a need for new approaches for local agriculture and new thinking around how we will feed the next generation. We need to focus on how each community is going to address local food needs. Refer to the Leopold Institute. The following sections are organized into areas of connectivity that if strengthened, can accelerate useful innovation.

Leveraging Global Networks: Holland, for example, is know for international trade. Holland 20 years ago was a super charged hub of international business. Melvin studied in Holland and was involved in many early initiatives. One example was an effort to bring bikes into Holland; groups found manufacturers from all over the world who could supply various styles of bikes.

Delivery and Logistics of Product: The current system of agriculture is not sustainable. The peach you had this morning came from California; was fertilized by prodcut manufacturered in the Middle East. We are focused on siloed production resources.

We have lost 4M farms in 50 years. If you see barren patches in the midsts of fertile land; not reducing hunger - hunger is rising, we are eating more nutrient poor foods than ever before. This is a case of garbarge in and garbage out.

What do we need?
We need a new way of looking at things and long term. Also difficult for individuals to look at solving food problems. You are operating alone - this is why Farmer's Markets are successful because alot of like-minded people come together to share conversation. The farmers markets do not build a better economy though. A combination of rural and urban begins to rebuild rural, urban and sustainable communities. The need to be there is not as necessary because of the virtual opportunity today.

We need a system to protect our water resources. Especially here in this region. We need a system that encourages environmental stewardship and social diversity; something that promotes biodiversity among all of us, is a strength. We need a system that expands the resources we have but conserves through better distribution of higher quality products.

A good book to read: The Planet of Sloums, Mike Davis. Go here.

Here's what needs to change:

1) Agriculture policy to strengthen small and mid sized farms
2) Diminishing of Agri-businesses and a strengthening of Horticulutre which is local and collaborative. Farming is no longer a career; corporate farms are dominating corporate farms

Achieving Food Security:
What we can do:
1.) Change of behaviors and habits; this the year of Benjamin Franklin and he would start with himself...then we begin to pull in our friends and family
2.) Supports for:
- Electoral politics must be changed. No one individual can be registered. In Ohio, when every individual turns 18 they should be automatically registered to vote. Other states
- Zoning laws need to be changed. So that systems are more flexible; for example Europe has residential and rural ...A block Party network needs to be connected to the Farmers Market in Midtown.
- communication through block clubs
- Education, mentoring, constructing
- Profitability

Experiments are being started in other parts of the world where the optimum population is 80,000 people. How for example, can you lice in a syscraper that is 100 flooers. Factories and more factories are single floors. In China, alternate spaces balconies and rooftops are used to grow. Just how high are we willing to live and walk up?

Q: Will populations be only around areas that can support land based growing?
A: we don't need to have land based agriculture anymore. We don't need to wait 6 years to be qualified as organic soil. Some crops require land based orientation but most do not. We don't need to keep pushing grain down livestock to satisfy our traditional diets.

We are being starved by eating too much. A story: Melvin was in Malrusha; he purchased a kabob of goat. Melvin was never able to chew the field range meat - like we are accustomed to chew in the US. However, the

Baroqu Obama: recently made a speech

Brad has the model of City Fresh: they are looking for distribution. This could revitalize local farmers and provide the income for them to consider reinvigorating their lands.

Rather than waiting for government, there are entrepreneurs who can move forward on the opportunities. There are individuals in the government who do get it and who people can connect with to move ideas and enterprises forward.

The Paw Paw is a good example of local food that create an excitement and help people to connect.

If you are in a municipality you will find people who are moving forward. How about a field trip to Athens to visit and learn from ACENet and the community.

Jim Herget: working with local municipalities the important thing is to let others discover over time what is a good idea. Leverage the newspapers to affect the politians.

Here's how too often politians think: Least hassle and maximum glory.

A good lesson from the I-Open curriculum is to evaluate your networks.

What are some of the other businesses that might apply to

growing , processing, distributing, to buyers. This is a wholistic system. Compost itself is a pest control itself.

Michigan State had a joint program going with McDonalds to move around garbage. Brand this as Homeland Security --- Food Security.
Why not use 4 - 5 floors for growing?

Isn't this a question of networks? Sometimes the wholesale prices don't cover the cost of food. We still need the intermeidary still to give the farmer a good price and get the food sold. The current price matrix's are unreasonable.

1.) There is a need for a network
2.) We lack political support to get it done
3.) Have people think in profitability terms that this is not a hobby

In the MidWest we have July 1 targets for peas and potatoes. Other states don't have this. What can we do July 1st next year in Midtown? Grow from the ground.

We need to wake up and laugh
We are trying to take the weather, fertilizer, energy and labor out of this. This is the HEZ model.

What can the HEX model look like?
This has an urban focus with linkages to the small farms in NEO. We are talking about processing, production a whole system approach.

Build many community gardens with great rewards; beautiful to the eye
Global water harnessing systems.
Sustainable locval jobs based on daily needs. Local nursery's cannot get enough labor...why not exchange labor for food and a little labor. We should be able to make this work.
Use renewable and sustianble to link geo-thermal in Midtown to Trinity Cathedral for examle.
Green construction businesses
This will stablize families and create secure neighborhoods

(There is a big difference between rich soil and dirt. Melvin grew up in the South where you can smell the rain comign because you can smell the earth. This smell is no longer there.)

Who can help get a HEZ started in Midtown? Get a demonstration project going.

Build linkages. This is a collaborative venture with people who already have an interest in aligned activities. Melvin has written three proposals this week.