Tag Archives: world bank

Competitive places – what makes them?

In search of the secret recipe

At the heart of my current research is the question – why do some places thrive and others not?  Is there a secret recipe?

In spending the last year organising my trip I’ve been trying to track down people who have insights into the above questions.  One example is some research being undertaken by the World Bank called Competitive Cities.

I was fortunate to be able to speak to one of the researchers, Z. Joe Kulenovic prior to departing for the United States as, unfortunately, our paths won’t cross stateside.

What is the research about?

The Competitive Cities research identified cities that have outperformed other cities regionally and nationally.  They are predominantly medium-sized and secondary cities (not mega cities) and have different contexts in terms of location and industries.

What does the research say and how is this relevant to the provinces outside cities?

My insight of the research so far is that people are the key differentiator in determining success.  It’s almost too simple – can growth really be down to the collective creativity of people and their actions?  What does this mean for the place where you live?

It reminded me of the Jim Collins ‘Good to Great’ book.

“In each of these dramatic, remarkable, good-to-great corporate transformations, we found the same thing: There was no miracle moment. Instead, a down-to-earth, pragmatic, committed-to-excellence process—a framework—kept each company, its leaders, and its people on track for the long haul.”

Watch this space later this year when the research is published.  I wonder what a similar research project on non-city locations would find?  In the meantime, here’s an interesting read on property prices in cities from the World Bank.