We’re Counting on You

June 3, 2013

It was big news that 14-year-old Guan Tianlang was playing in last week’s Memorial Tournament. To have the skill to tee it up with the world’s best players at that age is incredible and he will be a household name in the golf world for the next several decades. I’m sure that the PGA is counting on him and others to push the sport to greater heights and to draw fans from around the world.

The same is true for community leaders and economic development officials when it comes to nurturing future business leaders. This week’s New York Times Magazine includes an insightful article on this topic (although, a little disheartening for a 43-year-old). The article points to the fact that many of our biggest innovations come from young people who can bring unfettered focus to their field, generating new platforms for economic growth.

There are many of these young innovators in the Columbus Region. Just one example is Jed Johnson of Nanofiber Solutions, a medical device manufacturer of three-dimensional scaffolds and cell culture products. Jed founded the company as an extension of his doctoral research at The Ohio State University.

We can’t predict when and where these innovations will happen. There seems to be no special formula for creating the unique environment that ignites these young minds. We do, however, know some of the components that we need in place. First, an excellent educational system that focuses on learning, not conformity. Second, available risk capital and an economic system that rewards risk and even failure. Finally, a culture that promotes the American ideal that the individual can advance based on skill and competence, not age, class or race.

Please forward the article referenced above to a young person in your life. Hopefully it will serve as a small motivation to take a risk, to create something, to act. Our future just might depend on it.

Kenny McDonald

One Columbus Update

  • Congratulations to Nationwide and the Memorial Tournament, not only for another great golf event, but also for the charitable contributions to the Columbus Region and Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
  • Congratulations to NetJets on the unveiling of Phenom 300 business jet – a reminder of the importance of their presence in the Columbus Region and the innovation they are bringing to their industry.
  • Our team will be in New York City this week participating in the Intelligent Community Forum, where we will learn from six other communities and await word about whether Columbus will be selected as the most intelligent community in the world. We are the only region from the U.S. that’s been selected to attend. We’ll also be in Minneapolis for company meetings and the Area Development Consultants Forum.