Agility May 30, 2006Posted by Tom in Community, Economic Development, Innovation, Workforce.
In a preview article for a Racine, Wisconsin economic development event, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel writer interviewed the evening's keynote speaker, Jim Carroll. Carroll's message for Racine: We all need to increase our agility. At the community level, the organizational level and even at the personal level.
Carroll isn't talking about the physical ability to scale a wall or touch one's toes. He's talking about agility in thinking, managing and manufacturing methods.
"One great word is agility. That's what we need, that's the trend, the capital we need. How do we develop the agility to deal with the future that is coming at us faster than ever before so that we can shift on a dime?" Carroll said.
Communities like Racine have to continue to look ahead and to build on the community's attributes, he said. For Racine County, the attributes include things such as location, easy transportation, lifestyle and workforce, he said.
Specific mention was later made of the need to continue to compete with the likes of China on manufacturing through targeting the high-skilled manufacturing areas – which require skills enhancement programming.
I don't know Carroll at all, nor have I read his book, but his core message rings true. The ability to be agile, to adapt to change, is what has defined economic winners and losers throughout history.
But Carroll's comment about skill development as an outcome of an agile society immediately had me thinking of convergence between economic development and workforce development.
An agile community will recognize its skills deficiencies quickly, develop innovative programming to fill the skill gaps, implement the new skills in the regional workplace, and use the skills as a marketing tool in both internal and external economic development.