Over the weekend it was onwards to the East Coast to mark the halfway point with my sister and her husband in Maryland. I had a great peek into the star spangled banner that is Independence Day which was full of red, white and blue and more fireworks than I’ve ever seen before. I was also fortunate to have tour around a Camp/Retreat Centre, which Kiwis would know as a Summer Camp or Camp America.
Today is was onwards to Washington D.C, which is a stunning capital city. There’s so much history here and it is made all the more accessible by the 17 Smithsonian museums being free. Amazing what that does to enable tourism, the museums and the City were packed. The Smithsonian museums came about through a gift from James Smithson, who had never been to the United States. It took the US government of the time 10 years to decide whether to accept the gift and then decide what to do with it and another 9 years before the first building was completed. New Zealand doesn’t quite make the cut on the world population map unfortunately, shows how insignificant we are.
I met with the IEDC who provide a large range of services to over 4,500 members worldwide. They have literally written the ‘how to guide’ on economic development. As part of my visit I also reciprocated with a presentation of New Zealand, Taupo and my observations/comparisons so far. Their office is just around the corner from the Whitehouse which was a little surreal.
Lynn, Scott Tatiana and the team shared some of their key learnings from dealing with organisations all around the world including:
- taking care of existing business
- understanding who you are as a location
- developing a plan with clear priorities
- how success is often a combination of things, economies work as systems (aka systems thinking)
Insights for smaller locations:
- connectivity to broadband to enable home based businesses
- the tension that sometimes arise from some in communities that don’t want growth but want good infrastructure – how do you afford that?
- relationship between cities and rural areas – should cities subsidise rural areas given they are providing most of the food?
- creating places where young people want to live
Many of the above have surfaced through other conversations, so some clear themes are emerging.
One thing that puzzles me is that remote working was supposed to be widespread now and it is still predicted to be in the future. Is that really happening? If so, cities wouldn’t be growing as fast as they are, so what is holding people back from doing it?