Smashing through the ceiling

October 9, 2012

“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
-Winston Churchill

There is a growing belief that economic growth may cease to exist.  Martin Wolf’s post in the Financial Times is the most recent article questioning the premise that the global economy will continue to expand.  There are compelling arguments for this theory that cite historical periods when the world seems to stand still and point to the natural limits of technology and ecology.  We have all seen growing communities and growing companies that seemed limitless stall – so this theory seems reasonably plausible.

However, whenever things appear inevitable is just about the time that change dramatically occurs.  Just when that cash cow seems depleted, or an industry or technology seems like it could not be improved is when we smash through the ceiling and never look back.  Let me cite a few examples;

  • The United States of America spends over $40 billion on coffee annually.  Remember the world before Starbucks coffee shops, and Keurig machines?
  • The grocery store of our youth no longer exists, with more change on the way. Innovation in food technology, security, and packaging has totally transformed the mundane corner store.
  • The smartphone (Blackberry, Android, iPhone)… need I say more?
  • As Richard Florida said in his presentation to Innovate Columbus last week – more urban space will be built in the next 50 years than in the history of the world.  What innovations will that drive in construction, architecture, and transportation systems?

I am certainly not sure what the next breakthroughs will be that drive growth, but I do have confidence that right now the economic sands of entire sectors of our economy are shifting beneath our feet.  Some of the changes are sudden, more often than not they are gradual, and nearly all fuel economic growth in directly and indirectly.

One Columbus Update
As referenced in Economic Development Matters last week, the IdUS events were all wonderful for our region.  The 2020 team held meetings in Houston and Atlanta and we are focused on several upcoming missions.  The team leaves for Japan this Friday for a week of meetings with companies.

Thank you to Mark Kvamme for his many contributions to Ohio’s economic development community.  We would like to personally thank Mark for his time, effort, and business insight which has shaped JobsOhio 1.0.  He has helped Ohio attract and retain jobs, and I look forward to working with him in the future.  We are excited to do the same with John Minor, who has been named to Chief Investment Officer at JobsOhio.

-Kenny McDonald