The Economic Development Cemetery

June 17, 2019

“Science is a cemetery of dead ideas.”
-Miguel de Unamuno

Cemeteries are places to remember loved ones, yet they are also visited by tourists to study history. As you consider the economic history of your community and the ideas and people that have created the community you reside in, it may be worth building a virtual cemetery of the ideas, practices and strategies that have also expired. In economic development there are as many, if not more, failures as there are victories. There are setbacks, leaps forward and a constant debate of ideas and even ideologies.

The struggle is to always move forward, and to move forward we must sometimes lay our failures, and even practices that have proven successful in the past, to rest. Just as there is a process in grieving, time should be made to honor the strategies that have served you, acknowledge the successes and imperfections, and to begin to evolve your work to meet the unique challenges you face now and will in the future. We must occasionally re-visit old strategies to anchor back to the past in order to be reminded of the great work of the leaders making your community what it is today.

The challenge for this week is twofold. First, consider what we need to ceremonially bury in order to move forward into a new era. What concept, sacred cow, or practice must we put away in order to move forward with consensus? Second, revisit your economic development cemetery to consider the work of a previous group of civic leaders or economic development practices. Where did they succeed or fail? What legacy did they leave, whether positive or negative?

What legacy are we creating with our current practices, and consider how it will be used by future generations?

-Kenny McDonald


One Columbus Update

  • Last week, the One Columbus team attended Select USA and met with more than 20 companies over two and a half days.
  • This week, we are hosting companies evaluating the Columbus Region.