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Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Hounds notes from the Regional Entrepreneur Summit (Part 2) - January 11. 2012

The following is Part 2 of a summary of the information provided at the conference on Building Entrepreneurial Communities held this morning Wednesday, January 11, 2012 sponsored by the Catawba County Chamber of Commerce and the North Carolina Partners in Innovation (NCPI). The conference was held at the Crowne Plaza in Hickory and featured speaker Ted Abernathy who is the Executive Director of the Southern Growth Policies Board who believes that "Complex problems need collaborative solutions. Collaboration is not natural, but by following some basic rules communities can use collaboration to create a competitive advantage. Entrepreneurial businesses and collaboration are both a natural fit and a marriage of necessity."

In Part 1 of the presentation
you will see local leaders provide ideas, information, and initiatives that can help to turn the Economic plight of our community around. Especially interesting was the information provided by Bill Parrish who is the Director of The Small Business and Technology Development Center and a fellow participant in the Future Economy Council. Much of the information provided within this presentation is relevant to the discussions that have been presented on the Hound.

Here in Part 2, I will write about the Presentation of Ted Abernathy, who in the past was the Director of the Research Triangle Park and wants to work in collaboration to help turn Hickory around. He worked in the past with Bill Parrish of the SBTDC. What you will see is that it isn't us against the World. There are many interested parties in this State that want to see this region turn it around and are willing to help us do just that.

Ted Abernathy - Entrepreneurial Development is Collaboration - Mr. Abernathy first began his presentation by exhibiting percentage of venture capital in the United States. He stated that we aren't going to solve (our problems) by thinking the way everyone else thinks. He added that he was brought in to speak about collaborative models and how we get people to work together to achieve something together. Economic Development has gone from being a game of checkers to becoming three dimensional chess. You have to anticipate and prepare.

 Photos copyright: ©2012 Pat Appleson Studios, Inc. All Rights Reserved, Used By Permission

John F. Kennedy - "Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought."

Collaboration is the act of working with one or more people to do something that you can't do yourself.
Collaboration = Value - People collaborate when it is in their interest to do so.
Depends on where you sit - The successful process designs itself so that everyone sees the value in the back end
Crisis & Complacency - Motivation comes when Crisis exceeds Complacency
Context matters - Like a Habitat for Humanity House. Agree to the goal and roles of participants.

5 things that make collaboration hard
1) What is the new normal? There has never been a normal. We have to create the future. If we do not create the future, it will be created for us by external forces. The Churn - there are always jobs being increased and lost in communities. Alvin Toffler - Future Shock - The pace of change is so fast it is making us ill (this was 40 years ago). We want and need to know about where we are headed in the future. Philip Tetlock - You can't know enough to predict.
2)Complexity Conundrum - Changing Trends. The complexity of the world causes most people to tune out. Global interdependence shows that the world is interconnected. Top percent GDP Growers in 2012 - They aren't all where you would think they would be. We are in a Matrix Paradox.
3) Cultural Fragmentation - News/Books/Music/Movies/Information. Lack of Familiarity. Today we get information from many more sources, so we aren't as familiar with where others are coming from.
4) We are in a bad mood - Lack of satisfaction in jobs. Most people say things are worse. 100 years ago the life expectancy was 47 years old.
5)The American Dream Crisis - Vision of America. Opportunity for all. It isn't how you were born; It is what you do with your talents. Mr. Abernathy asked what we thought America would be like in 2050. It is hard to be positive about the future when the media is so negative. Building competitive regional clusters is about enabling entrepreneurship through infrastructure, R&D, and training citizens. Global manufacturing - Top 10 drivers in competitiveness. America has to have a strong manufacturing base.

5 things that make for successful collaborations
1) Understanding motivations - "Their best interests." Regions are in this together. Motivations - The Sawyer effect - Create a message that resonates. Co-opts are created to help shops in an area, because vacancies drag down other businesses in an area. Likewise, regions are in this together. When motivating people to help you, you need to figure out how to motivate people to help you through what they want. All communities are competing for economic success. There will be winners and losers in this process. Specific language matters - Franks Luntz.
2)Build a team. Engage every partner. - Business Advantage Center. Evolution of Groups - they get familiar with each other, then build a common language based upon what they want to do, they create shared visions, then work together and eventually learn to trust one another. This builds Social Capital - or Hardwiring a Community. He addressed the people of Leadership Catawba and told them that if they weren't willing to lead, then they should quit the class. The experience is about networking and building trust.
3) Leadership is crucial and models are changing - Hierarchical or Grass Roots. Leadership is changing - Trust/Public/Private/Non-Profit. "Twilight of the Elite." Effective Regional Leadership. Martin Dempsey Quote. What do we want from leadership? Trust and Action. We want to believe that leaders have our interests at heart. There is a need for a catalyst. We get caught up on the fact we think that this is supposed to be hierarchy. Leadership depends on consensus. We need a shared regional narrative. How do we describe our area and talk about it. "A leader is a dealer in hope" - Napolean Bonaparte. “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” - Greek Proverb. General Martin Dempsey recently said, "In the past, "we would have said we want men who are physically fit, educated, and disciplined. Now, what we way is that we want someone who wants to belong to a values-based group, who can communicate, who is inquisitive, and who has an instinct to collaborate."
4)Narrow whatever it is you are dealing with. The New Economy - how to prepare people and places to succeed in the New Economy. Define the geography. Let the function create the form. Collaborative Capacity -- if there is not a group to keep everything organized, then it will not work. If people don't think the objectives can succeed, then they will fail. You need to set realistic objectives. Collective Success depends on common agendas, shared measurements, mutually reinforcing activities, and support structures.
5) It takes capacity to hold groups together - How do you move people? Social influence - peer pressure. You model the behavior you expect. People get information in different ways, but they expect information. Collective Impact - Success is important.

People receive information in different ways. People are sure that society can't get along, but this isn't anything new. We knew this in the founding of the nation. James Madison - "The latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man; and we see them everywhere brought into different degrees of activity, according to the different circumstances of civil society." Friction - checks and balances. Jacksonianism - Tea Party and other things have happened before and they reset America. Community Resilience was born out of Hurricane Katrina. How do you prepare people before critical times happen? Prepare today for negative events that may happen tomorrow. Communities have to be intentional in what they do in order to be successful. The more social capital, the better.

The Millennial Generation will be the most Entrepreneurial generation that we have ever had. They were born, technological, global, and expecting change to happen. They want to work for themselves.

Southern Growth Policies Board -

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