By Pete Julius
Even though the stock market is in disarray, destructively greedy executives continue to appear in the news, and the government keeps threatening additional terrorist attacks, the economy is actually witnessing rapid growth within a variety of industries. One of those expanding industries is life sciences. That brings up three questions – – (1) what is life sciences; (2) what are the driving forces behind this growth; and (3) what are some of the emerging sectors?
Many people consider life sciences to be the same as biotechnology, when in fact biotechnology is only a component of life sciences. A very generalized and broad description would include the following industries:
¯ Medical equipment & supplies
¯ Research and testing
¯ Laboratory instruments and supplies
¯ Health services
¯ Animal science
¯ Agricultural chemicals
¯ Medical devices & apparatuses
Whether it’s manufacturing or service-oriented, life sciences encompasses anything that sustains or enhances the quality of life for any life form. This industry is being propelled by several factors that include an aging population, the need for cheaper generic drugs, and the increasing emphasis on healthier diets and nutritional supplements. The research and development activities within this industry have led to some very vibrant industry sectors. Some of those emerging areas include genomics, proteomics, bioinformatics, agri-biotech, chemical/biological warfare defenses and the cures for diseases, such as cancer.
For more information on this growing industry click on any one of the following links:
By Jeff Vedders
Last month we introduced you to The McKinsey Quarterly which was an online journal containing articles on business strategy. Another interesting site with in-depth business information is Knowledge@Wharton published by The Wharton School at The University of Pennsylvania. The URL is knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu
Knowledge@Wharton is a bi-weekly online journal with content divided into 14 sections, including Finance and Investment, Leadership and Change, and Business Ethics. For example, the current issue has an article debating the scarcity of IT workers as well as an article about the current US housing market. There are also interviews with business leaders, book reviews, and links at the bottom of each article to additional sources.
The information is free, but the site requires registration for article access. You will automatically be signed up for a bi-weekly newsletter.
By Katie Terpstra
Last month, we discussed author Richard Florida’s theory that creativity is the driving force behind economic growth and that “cities should stop worrying about attracting companies and start worrying about attracting members of this class.” This article has generated some feedback and as a follow-up we wanted to share with you what Mr. Florida refers to as the Creativity Index.
Mr. Florida created this index in order to measure a city’s ability to both attract the creative class and “to translate that underlying advantage into creative economic outcomes in the form of new ideas, new high-tech businesses and regional growth.” His Creativity Index looks at four equally weighted factors: the creative class share of the workforce, high tech industry, innovation, and diversity.
Below are his rankings of the top ten “creative” cities in the United States, grouped into three size categories.
Large Cities Creativity Rankings
Populations of 1 million or more
1. San Francisco
3. San Diego
6. Chapel Hill
9. New York
Medium-Size Cities Creativity Rankings
Populations of 500,000 to 1 million
2. Albany, NY
3. Tucson, AZ
4. Allentown, PA
5. Dayton, OH
6. Colorado Springs
7. Harrisburg, PA
8. Little Rock, AR
9. Birmingham, AL
10. Tulsa, OK
Small-Size Cities Creativity Rankings
Populations of 250,000 to 500,000
1. Madison, WI
2. Des Moines, IA
3. Santa Barbara, CA
4. Melbourne, FL
5. Boise City, ID
6. Huntsville, AL
7. Lansing, MI
8. Binghamton, NY
9. Lexington, KY
10. New London, CT
For further information, go to www.creativeclass.org.
By Mark James & Pete Julius
A common problem pesters many economic development organizations dedicated to a business retention strategy: understanding the needs and values of their own communities. Gathering information from hundreds of local businesses or stakeholders requires significant time and resources. With advances in technology, this daunting task has become much easier. One of the technology solutions to this communication problem is the use of web-based surveys.
One of the most advanced and powerful web-based survey and communication tools is named i-OP. i-OP has developed a Java-based applet that allows for a virtual dialogue via the Internet. This extremely sophisticated web tool sends out an email notification to local businesses and invites them to part take in a survey. From there, respondents can direct the interaction by responding to only those questions pertaining to them, while the applet virtually directs them to other questions based on their response. In this more conversational interaction, respondents are asked for more detail on issues they feel are important, not just a stock set of questions, appropriate or not.
Sophisticated results emerge for the local economic development organization. Response graphs are automatically produced on each question, cross tabulations can be run, and other data such as average time to complete and responses to open-ended questions are automatically provided.
This technology makes what used to be a long, drawn-out process into a rather simple and innovative approach to understanding a local community. In addition, community leaders can conduct the survey at their convenience – making it a tremendously useful tool for both parties. Should you want to consider using i-OP in your program, please contact Mark J. James with ED Solutions, Inc. at mark.james@solutionsED.com or 614.792.9102.