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Include. Innovate. Advance. Those were the watchwords at the Wilmington Alliance’s “Yes, Wilmington” summit this week. Community influencers from throughout the city gathered at the Chase Center to envision the future of Wilmington … and driving that future are the people of Market. We wandered over to the event to bring back five key takeaways that you need to hear. The first four came from Scott Andes, program director for city innovation ecosystems at the National League of Cities – but don’t worry, we’ve got some tips to improve your improv game in here, too.
Takeaway #1: Young Companies Grow Cities
“The primary actors within the knowledge economy are young, fast-growing companies. More than 50% of new jobs are created by only 5% of new businesses. Young businesses are generally about 3 years old, and they’re businesses that have the ability and opportunity and desire to grow a lot. We need those businesses with an appetite for grow, because those are the ones that provide jobs.”
Takeaway #2: The Knowledge Economy Requires Radical Proximity
“When you think about large-scale manufacturing, you think about supply chains. The relevancy of that business has about a 100-mile radius. When you look at the service economy, it’s about the labor market. How far will people go to get to a job? That’s about 40 miles.”
“The knowledge economy is about how ideas can be shared. It’s driven by radical proximity. The upshot is that if you want to grow an innovation, knowledge-based economy, tight geographic proximity is important. For everything from ad agencies to software to R&D, we find that the ability to communicate over blocks – not miles – is incredibly relevant.”
Takeaway #3: Talent Goes Where Talent Wants To Go
“It used to be capital was king. Today, talent is king. Thirty years ago, people moved to jobs. If you wanted to get people, you had to have jobs. Today, workers are moving based on where they actually want to be. It is about finding high-quality workers and getting them to build their own businesses and work in your community.”
Takeaway #4: Opportunity Must Be Intentional
“’Inclusive innovation.’ Everyone loves to say that. But the Venn diagram between opportunity and growth doesn’t exist naturally. Too many places just assume a growth strategy will lead to opportunity. But the natural state of the world is not one in which prosperity is shared. You have to be extremely purposeful about that.”
Takeaway #5: Start By Saying Yes
From keynote speaker and former “Whose Line Is It Anyway” performer Galen Emanuele: “These are the five tenets of improv: Say yes. Listen and be present. Make other people look good. Embrace change and failure. Be positive.”
“There’s nothing in there about being funny, or quick witted, or clever, or impressing anyone with your cool ideas. Those things are the death of improv. The people who come in to take classes and say ‘I’m hilarious, this is going to be so funny’ … those people are terrible. Terrible. They are the most nightmarish, worst possible students in the universe. Those people ruin improv.”
“Improv is not about standing out, looking good, impressing people. It really is about tuning in, connecting, listening, and creating something together, with your partner, with your team, outside of yourself. The same things that make you a great improviser are the same things that make you a great friend. And those are the same things that make you a more effective leader, a more valuable part of the team, and just a more awesome and well-rounded human being navigating this world with other human beings. Which is what we’re here talking about.”