Monday, June 26, 2017

How Governments Spur Innovation

Governments seek to create innovation within their districts to develop a more robust economy. The process of doing this can take many forms but at the root of their strategy is innovation. It is believed that innovation leads to economic growth and the employment of more people. An article in the International Journal of Innovation Science helps us understand what many governments are doing (Jacknis, 2011).

Many of the strategies governments use were based in the Industrialization Age where hard products were created. The modern age is more technological and service oriented. It is my perspective that better online collaborative communities are likely to spark that innovation at a fraction of many of the previous programs.

The methods in use service specific functions such as either sparking, transferring, or rewarding innovation. The author cites the following approaches:

Copy-write and Patent Protection: Legally protecting new developments to reward the inventor. While not cited in the article it is beneficial to reign in infringements in nations like China.

High speed Internet: Local governments are creating high speed Internet infrastructure that encourage increasing information transference.

Tax Credits: Property for relocation, sales and research tax credits.

Investments: Encouragement of investment into regional research centers, new technology and investment loans. There are some governments which invest public pension funds.

Prizes and Rewards: Offer prizes and rewards for entrepreneurs, innovators and inventors that work for the government or contract through them.

Knowledge Transfer: Universities that received federal funds will transfer their new technology to the private sector to encourage greater innovation.

Jaknis, N. (2011) Government's Role In Facilitating An Innovative Economy. International Journal of Innovation Science, 3 (3).

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Branding the Downtown District Through Cultural and Functional Spaces

The downtown for small and medium towns are an important center of commercial activity but are ill-prepared to take on the challenges of a more modern global environment.  As city leaders decide the fate of the future of their towns by considering the benefits of downtown revitalization projects, it is helpful to move beyond just commerce and services to see how a downtown can also be a cultural center that creates new opportunities in business, values, and branding.

Research on medium sized towns found that it is beneficial to include cultural space in the overall efforts of revitalizing downtown districts (Pazder, 2011). Business districts should be seen through a lens of commerce and culture to help ensure they are vibrant and functional. Cultural identity becomes part of the town's heritage and can make it attractive to new businesses.

Small and medium towns should seek ways to differentiate themselves from larger cities that attract their own demographic. Small town success is rooted in its ability to offer something unique that can't be easily copied by competing areas. Connecting the business district with its historical past blends the new and the old in a way which creates a sense of deep value for residents.

The world is changing through acculturation and globalization. When towns can formulate a sense of identity and a functionality that is attractive to new business and residents, will have an easier time rejuvenating. Skill professionals are often attracted to cultural based cities that provide a valuable lifestyle and business are more likely to invest when the commercial district offers the best chances for success.

Across the country, the old downtown that has sustained commerce for hundreds of years must change to meet modern demands. Transforming the city center into a cultural and functional space offers new opportunities for branding and investment. In turn, that branding can be used to market the town to regional, national and international stakeholders that can put dollars in where common sense city management prevails.

Pazder, D. (2011). The Conception of Cultural Space Revitalization as a Way to Increase Downtown Attractiveness, A Case Study of chose Medium-sized Towns in the Wielkopolska Region. Quastiones Geographicae, 30 (4).

Friday, June 2, 2017

Improving Worker Satisfaction by Promoting Skilled Employees

Bosses and their ability to connect and inspire employees are an important consideration for job satisfaction. Research also indicates that managers who are highly skilled also raise job satisfaction lending support to the idea that those who can step into their employee's jobs, as well as do their own, are seen with high esteem and have an impact on employee retention. Should you pull the next manager from the ranks?

Job skills come from those who have done the job!  Companies should not be afraid to promote their highest performing and most knowledgeable employees. It is believed that promoting technicians to management resulted in disaster and exodus of employees because of lack of emotional intelligence. This exodus apparently is not always the case.

Certainly, there are technicians that do not have the right traits or personality to be bosses. They lack the management and social skills to function with others in higher pressure situations. When given an opportunity to promote a technician with practical skills or an outside boss without specific job skills, the former is more beneficial.

The study looked at over 27,000 people and came to the conclusion that job satisfaction is positively correlated to job skill. People see such bosses in higher light because they respect their abilities. In essence, the boss has credibility because they have functioned the job before. Knowing that your manager knows your work tasks seems to bring a level of comfort and esteem.

The application can be practical for promotion and recruitment. The study indicates that universities should promote performing faculty into administrative positions, star I.T. employees to supervisors, and trained manufacturing workers into bosses. Internal promotion can help with retention and job growth as skilled and experienced employees are capable of moving up the ranks to create positive results with more satisfied employees.

Artz, B., Goodall, A. & Oswald, A. (2017). Boos competence and worker well-being. ILR Review, 70 (2).