Big Stuff and Little Stuff: The Pursuit of Economic Development Success

August 6, 2018

“Stories create community, enable us to see through the eyes of other people, and open us to the claims of others.”
– Peter Forbes, photographer and author

Is it the big stuff or little stuff that separates communities in their pursuit of economic development?

Is it the big things that the world sees from afar? The major infrastructure, the Fortune 500 headquarters, the notoriety of institutions?

Or is it the culture on the ground? That is, the little things that cities and regions do to make things work? The colloquialisms of the area, the food, festivals and favorite local success stories?

As with most things, it is not one or the other. It is the pursuit and the curation of both that matter when developing your community’s storyline.

The “big” stuff is important. The landmark achievement of hosting a major event, the development of infrastructure, the long-lasting architecture that defines you is seen by the world, and it leads to perception of your place. The big stuff matters.

But, the “little” stuff matters even more. And I’d say it’s not so little. It’s the people in a community, how they did their work, and their failures and successes. The leadership, the political courage, the designers, builders and residents who create and use the big stuff. The locals are the story of what it is to experience a place.

The most notable places are those that have married the story of how they are known externally with the story of how their local culture has developed over decades and centuries. They adjoin their personal stories of successes and failures with the outcomes of their work – or that which you might call the “big” things that are more readily seen.

How places capture both their history and who they are today, share it through storytelling, and go about their pursuit of the future reinforces who they are and how they are known.

The lesson is to not only pursue that which brings notoriety and opportunity to your place, but to make sure you capture the stories of the leaders and the people who did the work to make those things a reality.

Let’s have a great week working on the big stuff while we appreciate the people who rise in that pursuit.

-Kenny McDonald


One Columbus Update

  • Last week, the Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade & Industry spoke in Columbus on strengthening the Japan-US relationship by growing investment. Thank you to JETROJASCO, and JobsOhio for hosting a great event highlighting the importance of foreign investment in our region.
  • One Columbus is partnering with Columbus CEO magazine to publish a special section in the October issue. Advertising opportunities are available. Contact Susan Kendall at 614-410-0692 to reserve your ad space by August 18.
  • If you’re flying on Delta this month, be sure to check your seatback for Delta Sky magazine. They have published a 27-page story about the Columbus Region. Thank you to those who participated in interviews and ensured the section’s success through advertising.
  • We look forward to seeing One Columbus investors at the One Columbus Investor Update and Summer Social on August 22!