can't predict the future; we can only avoid repeating the mistakes from
our past. If this is true, how does this apply to transforming our
First, we shouldn't try to places all our
eggs in just a few baskets. This strategy has never worked well for
our personal investment portfolio and it doesn't work for building
economies. We can't possibly
know when or where the next Compuware's, Dominos or Quicken Loans will
be formed. Nor can we predict with accuracy if nanotechnology, life
sciences or homeland security will take off in Michigan.
we know that entrepreneurs create most new jobs and that you can never
have enough of them if you hope to have a thriving economy. We know
from our past that it is the process of innovation that leads to new
enterprise - think Henry Ford, W.K. Kellogg and S.S. Kresge.
we know that young talent is the fuel of regional growth - think
Seattle, Atlanta and Boston. Young people are attracted to
opportunities for growth, innovation and ideas. If we want to grow, we
have to retain and attract young talent.
Finally, investing in
technology is important, but most jobs of the future won't come from
businesses in the "technology space." They will come from business
sectors like financial services, health care and the skilled trades.
And virtually every business of the future is exportable, meaning it no
longer has to just serve the local market.
So where does this
leave metro Detroit? We need to focus less on picking a winning
industry sector and spend more on growing programs, facilities and
financing to help dramatically grow the number of entrepreneurs of all
sectors of the economy. Where we invest in growing new sectors, we
have to invest the resources necessary to give ourselves a reasonable
chance for success, not spread ourselves our resources too thin.
Bottom line: The more ideas we generate, the more success we will
have. And the more opportunities for our young people to stay here at
home! — Doug Rothwell