Adapt or Perish

November 21, 2016

“Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature’s inexorable imperative.”
-H.G. Wells

It is with great gratitude that I write this week. It is the beginning of the holiday season, a time when we should reflect on the people who support our work and make progress possible.

I am deeply thankful for the fantastic opportunities I had to take part in a series of presentations and interviews last week that were inspirational and thought-provoking. The New Albany Foundation brought Thomas Friedman and David Brooks of The New York Times and Anna Navarro of CNN to the community to interpret the election results and discuss the future. The Columbus Partnership held its annual retreat and included “Hillbilly Elegy” author J.D Vance, FedEx founder Fred Smith, General James Conway of Securing America’s Future and a host of speakers from the world of autonomous vehicles and the connected city. Ohio University also had a terrific meeting that included Siemens North America CEO Eric Spiegel. Each person was exceptional and it sparked so many thoughts and questions about our future.

As I review my notes, there seems to be a recurring theme: Disruption.

Change does not come easily to most people, businesses or governments. Yet, the world is in a period of great disruption socially, economically and politically. To fully leverage the opportunities and to mitigate the negative impacts to society, we all must hold fast to our values and adapt, adapt, adapt.

My notes also reveal three recurring questions:

  • What opportunities are created from the disruptions and how can our region take advantage of them?
  • Which companies, industries and location advantages do these changes make obsolete?
  • How do we change our organization’s tactics and culture to adapt and win?

One way our economic development community can adapt is to engage in regular dialogue about the reality of a changing world. I would like to invite you to do just that with us at Economic Development 411 on December 2. Hundreds of leaders from throughout our region will discuss a variety of topics and also hear from two keynote speakers:

Alec Ross, author of “Industries of the Future,” will speak about the future of our economy and society, and Walmart Vice President of US Manufacturing Cindi Marsiglio will speak about the company’s commitment to America’s competitiveness.

We look forward to seeing you for an intense day of discussions and insights.

-Kenny McDonald

One Columbus Update

Last week, One Columbus in partnership with Ohio Development Services Agency executed its first trade mission to Mexico. Led by Licking County Commissioner Tim Bubb, the mission had 5 companies in attendance: MES from Lewis Center, Polymer Technologies from Heath, Replex Plastics from Mt. Vernon, Sequent from Columbus, and xperion from Heath. Customized meetings for each company resulted in successful outcomes for all involved. Thanks to all who joined us!