Massive change = massive challenges: Helping our local economy face the future

June 25, 2018

In 2004, Canadian industrial designer Bruce Mau published a manifesto called Massive Change. Mau envisioned using a design-centric approach toward addressing the social, environmental and economic challenges that would result from the increasingly rapid pace of change in our world. The approach involves developing an “eye for seeing where things are headed and getting there first, brilliantly, with a purpose-driven methodology for imagining the possible and delighting in the collaborative hard work of designing it into reality.”

Since that time, our world has changed so dramatically that it’s breathtaking. Entirely new industries have sprung up following the introduction of the iPhone, mobile applications, social media, and myriad other innovations that ultimately destabilized or eviscerated many sectors of the economy. For those who couldn’t keep up or reinvent themselves, the fallout was devastating.

The pace of change that has blindsided so many companies and workers in our country is only going to accelerate. That’s why we as economic developers and business leaders are obliged to help our communities prepare to face the future that’s coming at us like a high-speed train. We can either hop on or get run over.

Where do we begin?

By paying close attention to important developments in technology, policy and demographics.

By analyzing data trends that will shape the economic future of our regions, states, and nation.

By keeping up with emerging technologies that are transforming entire industries and how we do business.

Blockchain, Fintech, Machine Learning, Augmented Reality, V-commerce, the Internet of Things and Autonomous Vehicles are all part of this new mix. It’s a real challenge for organizations to stay on top of developments like these that can completely disrupt their business – and find proven talent with the skills and experience they need to stay competitive.

The International Economic Development Council (IEDC), for which I am proudly serving as Chairman this year, is conducting research and producing reports that will help economic developers and community leaders better understand how emerging technologies are disrupting industries, and how we can use those insights to help our communities adapt and thrive.

The Tampa Hillsborough EDC will leverage these reports along with input from our stakeholders to create new programs and initiatives that will help Tampa Bay become future ready. It is our goal to help this region navigate these challenges – armed with knowledge, confidence, and the support of our peers.

I look forward to sharing with you some highlights from the initial IEDC reports, which are due out later this summer.

I imagine that some of you are already collecting research on navigating disruption in your respective industries.  Perhaps you’ve already held workshops or published whitepapers on this topic. The EDC would welcome your sharing such research with us, as we begin to build our resource library.

Thank you again for all you do for Tampa Bay. I wish you and your families a happy and safe Independence Day holiday.

Craig J. Richard, CEcD, FM