October 20, 2014

It is easy for community and business leaders to assume they know all there is to know about their communities or market areas. For economists, it can seem easy to draw broad conclusions about countries and regions from afar. Thank goodness the world is more interesting than that! Although we are awash with information about our communities and the world in general, there are new discoveries to be made every day.

Our communities and local economies are changing constantly, driven by vast changes in technology and demographics (for example, did you know that 60 percent of the Columbus Region’s population growth from 2000-2013 is represented by minorities?). As a community leader, it is very important to challenge yourself to look at your community in new and interesting ways. Perhaps you get this perspective by traveling to other communities and comparing them to your own, or you take half a day to visit a part of your community you are unfamiliar with, or you simply drive to work on a different route. I contend that it is well worth your time to “get lost” in your own community one day this week to see it from a different angle.

For business leaders, it is important to challenge assumptions that are drawn from data alone. Companies are constantly looking for growth opportunities and pools of talent that can help them innovate. To fully understand the possibilities, it is necessary to get on the ground. Take a later flight and check out the city you are in, or contact the economic development group in the city to ask a few questions. You will undoubtedly be surprised by your findings.

This week let’s take the time to rediscover our own communities and uncover new possibilities.

Kenny McDonald

One Columbus Update

This week, the One Columbus team begins a two week business development mission in Japan and China, where we will meet with dozens of companies and consultants. Our team is also in Fort Worth for the 2014 IEDC Annual Conference, and here in Dublin we will attend the 2014 OEDA Annual Summit.