Brock Dickinson

Posted on 3, Nov | Posted by

Sally Krawchek’s nine steps to a better personal brand

By Brock Dickinson

Nine Steps to a Better Personal Brand Blog Header

When she speaks, Sally Krawchek is one of those people you’re supposed to listen to… Forbes has called her “one of the 100 most powerful women in the world.” The Daily Beast suggested that she was one of the “rare honest voices on Wall Street.” She served as the Chief Financial Officer of banking giant Citigroup, and had a stint as the head of investment firm Merrill Lynch. She’s clearly someone who knows how to build a name for herself, and leverage that name for maximum benefit. Read the full blog post

Posted on 8, Dec | Posted by

Digital fabrication & additive manufacturing 101

By now, most economic developers are familiar with the concept of 3D printing, which is essentially the use of machines (“printers”) that can slowly build layers of plastic to make physical objects. And while most of us think of this as a new exciting technology, a current media fascination with this technology is blinding us to a much more significant change in the way manufacturing works. The surprising reality is that the first commercial 3D printer was released in 1984 – and 3D printing is a 30-year-old technology from the era of Atari videogames, 8-track players and the Sony Walkman. Read the full blog post

Posted on 6, Dec | Posted by

Makers by Chris Anderson and Makers by Cory Doctorow

Once upon a time not so long ago, computer programmers wore starched white shirts and stodgy ties, and worked in immaculate corporate spaces with giant machines calledENIAC and Colossus. But the anarchic, transformative power of these tools was too great to be constrained by the corporate world, and a generation of hippie hackers with names like Jobs, Wozniak and Gates threw off their ties and sparked an information revolution from their California garages. It’s a story we know well, but it’s also one we’re about to see retold in the field of manufacturing. Additive manufacturing, digital fabrication – however we choose to label it, the radical shift in “making” has broken the old model of assembly lines, of hierarchical shiftwork and production, and even of factories themselves. Ladies and gentlemen, manufacturing has – quite literally – left the building. Read the full reviews

Posted on 8, Jul | Posted by

Time for Outrage by Stéphane Hessel

On Indignation and Occupation

Time for Outrage It may surprise you to hear that one of the most powerful documents of today’s modern youth movements – from Occupy Wall Street in America to the Indignados of Spain – was actually written by a 93-year-old Holocaust survivor and French Resistance fighter. Stéphane Hessel was born in Berlin in 1917, became a French citizen in 1939, and joined the French army upon the outbreak of World War II.  In 1941, while France was occupied by the Germans, he joined the French Resistance, but was captured in 1944 during the lead-up into the D-Day invasions.  He was sent to the Buchenwald and Dora Nazi concentration camps, but escaped during a transfer to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, making his way across Germany to link up with the United States Army. Following the war, Hessel worked with the United Nations, assisting Eleanor Roosevelt and others in the drafting of theUN ‘s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He followed this with a successful career in diplomacy and public service, and died earlier this year at the age of 95.
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Posted on 8, Jul | Posted by

Turnaround: Third World Lessons for First World Growth by Peter Blair Henry

Turnaround: Third world lessons on growth

Turnaround: Third World Lessons for First World GrowthIn an era when the tribulations of Greece, Spain and Cyprus dominate our financial news, and the phrases “Made in the USA Recession” or “Eurozone Crisis” are on everyone’s lips, it’s sometimes surprising to note the significant financial discipline and high growth rates that have come to dominate much of the developing world. Once derided as “Banana Republics” or sources of the “Asian Flu” many less-developed nations have now turned the tables on the economically-challenged industrial world. This jarring juxtaposition lies at the heart of Peter Blair Henry’s new book Turnaround: Third World Lessons for First World Growth.

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Posted on 8, Dec | Posted by

Gift Giving by Peter Denton

Gift Giving

Just in time for the holidays, Gift Ecology: Reimagining a Sustainable World is a little book packed with big ideas. It’s the latest effort from Peter Denton, a Winnipeg-based academic and blogger, whose regular contributions can be seen at EconomicDevelopment.org and elsewhere.  Denton’s past work is in diverse fields – theology, literary studies, the history of science – and is matched by an equally diverse teaching experience at institutions ranging from Red River College to the Royal Military College. At its heart, Gift Ecology is a lament for the excesses of transactional life – the economic realities of exchange and commerce that blind us to the true value of both the people around us and the earth on which we live. At the same time, however, it is a call to action – a plea that we rethink our place in the world, and focus on the act and idea of giving as a means of transforming both ourselves and our global environment. In making this case, Denton draws on a range of both classic and quirky thinkers, mixing the personal and the profound in a short, compelling narrative.

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Posted on 12, Nov | Posted by

From red flags to green (Part 2): how to see into the invisible economy

Last month, I had the chance to speak at the annual conference of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) in Houston, Texas, with a focus on the question of how and why Business Retention and Expansion (BR+E) is evolving to be more effective in the new economy.

I’ve had a lot of requests for transcripts and copies of the speech but I generally don’t speak from notes, so I promised I’d provide an overview of my thoughts on this blog. Here’s the second of three blog posts that will cover off the main ideas and themes of that presentation. Read the full blog post

Posted on 11, Oct | Posted by

From Red Flags to Green (Part 1): BR+E in the Emerging Economy

On October 2, I had the chance to speak at the annual conference of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) in Houston, Texas, with a focus on the question of how and why Business Retention and Expansion (BR+E) is evolving to be more effective in the new economy.  I’ve had a lot of requests for transcripts and copies of the speech but I generally don’t speak from notes, so I promised I’d provide an overview of my thoughts on this blog.  Here’s the first of three blog posts that will cover off the main ideas and themes of that presentation… Read the full blog post

Posted on 8, Jan | Posted by

Think Better by Tim Hurson

Building better ideas

Communications theorist Arthur VanGundy once suggested that “Ideas are not solutions; they are the raw material of solutions.” As we struggle for innovative approaches to challenging issues in our local economies, economic developers often fall into traps that block progress. Sometimes it’s the trap of “best practice” where we resort only to imitation. Other times we’re confronted by the economic development equivalent of writer’s block. We imagine that if only we could generate a constant, steady stream of amazing new ideas, our work would be so much easier.

In Think Better, creativity coach Tim Hurson presents an exciting toolkit for idea generation that just may help economic developers achieve the creative breakthrough they need in these challenging times. Hurson begins with a dynamic, entertaining and common sense review of just where good ideas come from, drawing on cutting edge academic research and the practical experience of companies and entrepreneurs around the globe. This section of the book alone is worth the price of admission.

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Posted on 9, Sep | Posted by

Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation by Steven Johnson

Innovation Ecosystems: How Spaces Spawn ideas

Steven Johnson is a successful Brooklyn-based science writer who has penned books on everything from neuroscience to cholera to pop culture. In his latest book Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation, he attempts to apply lessons from the history of science to an exploration of idea generation. It’s an important question – in an age where economic opportunity is driven by innovation, breakthrough and technological disruption, figuring out how to trigger good ideas is like learning how to transmute base metals into gold. But although Johnson begins from a scientific perspective, he finds himself frequently crossing over into the realm of urban planning, urban design and economic development.

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