The Addiction Economy

June 17, 2013

Smartphones and cigarettes have a lot in common. It seems that simply holding them in our hands is comforting. New studies point to evidence that cell phone “addiction” is growing, especially among young people.

As delivery mechanisms, smartphones are unparalleled. You can buy everything from groceries to plane tickets, conduct your banking transactions, and interact with other people without ever looking up from your device. They are bright and shiny and we love them so much that we accessorize them so we can identify with them even more.

There are many societal implications of this – but what implications does this have on our economy?

I attended a terrific event last week hosted by one of our most important companies, Exel. They provide supply chain solutions and operate several distribution centers around the country, many of which are right here in the Columbus Region. The topic was the changing retail economy and its implications on the global supply chain. What are the implications of Amazon becoming a grocer? What are the implications of the growth of mobile computing and the rise of smartphones worldwide? How does big data – the collection, aggregation, and understanding of data – impact the economy and how will it change our communities? What does the change from “just in time” to “just now” have on the location of manufacturing and logistics operations?

As an economic developer, this is exciting and frightening at the same time. “The mall” no longer exists in the way we once knew. Downtowns are changing, largely for the better. It is imperative that sellers anticipate what you will want to buy and when you will want to buy it. It is not enough to be agile – you have to be ubiquitous. The most exciting businesses are not those with the best product or service, but those that can seemingly addict you to buying the product or using the service over and over again.

These societal changes are already impacting our built environment and our economy. Is your community ready?

Kenny McDonald

One Columbus Update

The One Columbus team is busy gearing up for in-market visits throughout the Columbus Region. We look forward to hosting several companies, site consultants and journalists who are looking to learn more about doing business in our region.