Connecting Places

April 2, 2012

The map of the world is constantly changing. History tells us that there is constant and evolutionary change caused by economics, politics, war, even luck. What seems to endure is the places created through this turmoil, the actors that shape these places and the enduring institutions and structures they create.

The economic map of the world we have today shows massive change over the years. Entire centuries were dominated by either Middle Eastern, Asian, or European dominance. European dominance was diminished by America’s growing power in the 1940’s and 50’s. The remaking of the American economy in the early 80’s challenged the U.S. to confront its structural problems within both business and government. What was considered massive debt (quite laughable given our current levels), and growing significance of emerging economies created urgency to America’s reform and our competitiveness rose.

What has endured is the connections that arose through this turnover. Personal relationships were forged, innovations were surfaced through the exchange of cultural ideas, and unbreakable bonds were created. Visit Shanghai and see the English and French influence, California and Texas and see the historical connections to what was the dominant economy of Mexico. Visit the Northwest side of the Columbus Region (Marysville and Dublin, Ohio) and see the influence of Japanese automotive manufacturing excellence and innovation. Formerly adversarial relationships transitioned to interdependent relationships through economic development.

Economic development is a people business, but it is also about connecting places on the globe. Travel to western Europe and you find that there is a special relationship with the United States, travel to India and see how the world’s largest democracy and the world’s most successful democracy share common values, travel to Asia and see a wary eye toward one another (part respect, part cultural misunderstanding).

We are absolutely convinced that it is important and necessary for people and places to connect. The Columbus Region is reaching out around the world not only to talk to growing companies, but to take what is best from those places and incorporate them into our businesses and communities. Apple’s trip to China this past week is a great example of bringing our values to other countries through our economic actions.

Businesses from the Columbus Region are also taking their culture with them around the globe and adding character and building understanding through their actions as employers.

One Columbus Update
One Columbus was in Michigan, Germany, and the U.K. last week working with clients and reaching out. Our team hosted clients and continued to interact with local businesses to gain understanding and take actions that make them more competitive. Our team travels to the NPI show in Orlando this week to meet with polymers companies (one of Ohio’s largest industrial sectors) and is taking action on several fronts along with its local and state partners to make the Region more competitive.