Access to the digital economy and the New Economy for everyone

The digital economy has revolutionized how we do business using New Economy principles

What Urban Transformation Really Looks Like for One Older Industrial Legacy City was a webinar I attended that highlighted Cleveland, Ohio. The webinar description stated:

“Cleveland's been pioneering the transition from a ‘gray city’ to a ‘city transformed,” led by a network of government leaders, philanthropists, business executives, university leaders, risk-taking entrepreneurs and community leaders working together to improve conditions in distressed neighborhoods.”

The webinar provided an overview of an initiative in Cleveland designed for “Connecting the Unconnected – The ReStart initiative which provides an inclusive onramp to the digital economy for the at-risk parts of our community.” The program was launched in Cleveland by DigitalC and its partner. The program is a comprehensive IT program, and it also offers wrap around services to support Cleveland’s at-risk community. DigitalC website stated:

“The ReStart program addresses the digital isolation of many Cleveland residents and builds on existing assets in the community by offering software, hardware and technical skills training. ReStart offers specific, actionable programming along the entire digital literacy spectrum from basic skills to intermediate skills-building. In addition to providing digital workforce training, all ReStart participants will receive access to wrap-around services including soft skills and workforce readiness training, financial literacy, substance abuse prevention education, parenting skills and child care service referrals.”

Underserved populations not having access to the digital economy is another factor impacting urban social isolation, and civil engagement due to lack of access to knowledge and information. The webinar provided information from the 2015 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, Table B28002 that illustrated the survey results for the Presence and Types of Internet Subscriptions in Household. The survey results were for Cleveland and Detroit and for “households with internet access without a subscription” compared to “households with no internet.” Data findings for “Households with Internet Access without a Subscription” in Cleveland and Detroit: Cleveland (10,718 Households (6 percent)) and Detroit (33,640 Households (13 percent)). Households in Cleveland and Detroit “With No Internet” is as follows: Cleveland (52,321 (31 percent) and Detroit (93,205 (36 percent)).

The Harvard Business Review article published on March 24, 2016 titled The 4 Things it Takes to Succeed in the Digital Economy stated, “Digital is not just part of the economy-it is the economy. It’s an economy of limitless opportunities for some and disruption and displacement for others. Many firms such as Kodak, Blockbuster, Sears and Blackberry, were unable to adapt to the digital economy, and the companies that adapted to the digital world are 26 percent more profitable than their industry peers.”

These research findings have a major impact on how local, county and state governments create sustainable economic development strategies to attract new industries and businesses and to support existing businesses and industries.

The article stated, “Thriving companies such as Amazon, PayPal, Fidelity, Aetna, Apple and Microsoft are harnessing collaborative digital networks to build ecosystems that are moving beyond linear supply chains to partner with providers of complementary products and services or sometimes even competitors. Companies with 50 percent or more of their revenues from digital ecosystems have higher profit margins than their industry’s average.”

The Harvard Business Review highlighted the importance of Collaborative Innovations.

“Collaboration is indispensable for innovation, both within the company’s own boundaries and beyond, with customers, partners, startups, universities and research communities,” the review stated.

Collaboration, bold partnerships and cluster are New Economy principles that are important for governments to be competitive in a global economic setting. The New Economy theory:

“For Michigan, development of regional approaches for economic development is extremely important at this time. In today’s new economy, regions are the economic units capable of being competitive in a global economic setting. That is one of the ideas behind Michigan’s Prosperity Regions. Each region is created only as large as necessary so each region has all of the assets necessary to be globally competitive. Then there needs to be a system of coordination, cooperation, and planning so the region can champion economic development efforts for the entire region.”

The Harvard Business Review concluded its article with a statement that causes the reader to ponder the pros and cons, and dark side of the digital economy: “The digitization of the economy is one of the most critical issues of our time. Digital technologies are rapidly transforming both business practices and societies, and they are integral to the innovation-driven economies of the future. But there is another dark side: technological revolutions are highly disruptive to economies and societies. This was the case during the Industrial Revolution, and it is the case today.”

Those in Michigan State University Extension that focus on land use provide various training programs on planning and zoning, which are available to be presented in your county.  Contact your local land use educator for more information.

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