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.


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