Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Iowa Economic Development has a chance

Many thanks to Doug Lewis, head of Entrepreneurial Development for the Iowa Dep't of Economic Development. Doug is one of the rare few who can truly say "Hi, I'm from the government, and I ma here to help you." A very down-to-earth good guy, he took a different tack than our other visitors by starting out with some recommended readings: The World is Flat, by NY Times columnist Thomas Friedman, important for the world view he sets out, but lacking any prescription for what we should do; A Whole New Mind, by Daniel Pink who provides some guidance on what to do, namely focus more on creativity and empathy as basic analysis is best done by technology; and The Only Sustainable Edge, by John Hagel and John Seeley Brown who explore developments at the edge of business and the edges of the world. He tossed in a reference tho the best-selling Influencer The Power to Change Anything, by David Maxfield, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler.

Doug then went on to provide his advice on how to prepare for entrepreneurial leadership:
  1. Work and get training in order to really know how to execute a plan or strategy.
  2. Find a mentor. This is a recurring theme among our presenters.
  3. Be willing to fail; most successful entrepreneurs do not succeed until their third attempt. Another recurring theme.
  4. Start now. This is one of the major themes of our class. Entrepreneurial leaders make things happen.
He emphasized that entrepreneurial success requires tenacity and devotion. He also suggested that there are opportunities in and around clusters of economic development, analogizing to Hollywood, where it takes more than actors and directors to make it all work.

Iowa has identified three major areas of opportunity:
  1. Biosciences
  2. Advanced manufacturing
  3. Information Technology
And while I have suggested to Doug that three may be too big and broad for little ol' Iowa, I am confident that Iowans will find innovative solutions within those broad categories. And when they do, Doug will be there to help them capitalize on them.
Thanks, Doug.

1 comment:

Timothy L Johnson said...

Tom - spot on with the highlight of Doug. Great guy who is very results driven. Thanks for headlining this asset for our state.