By Dean Whittaker

We all have to choose how we react to the tsunami of changes taking place in our lives.  Not only are we facing significant changes, but we are experiencing them at increasing velocities.  Plus, we create them! As economic development practitioners, we play roles as change agents all the time. That’s why it’s vital for us to understand the nature and role of change.

Pete’s article last month discussed the changes we are undergoing as we transition from the “old economy” to the “new economy.” He mentioned how the factors of production have changed from land, labor and capital to knowledge, communication, and innovation.  The consequences of these changes are playing themselves out in our work.

So, what is the nature of change and how does it come about?  All change is relative in that all change is related to a previous event, condition or position. With change comes opportunity or threat, depending on how we choose to react. Without change, we may become as extinct as the dinosaurs that failed to adapt to sudden changes in the environment.

As our ability to communicate has increased, the rate of change has accelerated. Technology has enabled us to communicate more effectively with a larger audience more frequently, increasing the spread and speed of new ideas and innovation.

Change has always been with us. It is the rate of change that has changed. How we adapt and adjust to these changes will determine our success or failure.

Our company is based upon change.  The changes taking place within industries and companies allow us to predict behavior. Changes in leader or ownership have a direct effect on the allocation of resources to support strategic directions. By monitoring these and other changes we can predict which firms are most likely to relocate or expand with a great deal of accuracy.

How are you adapting to the changes taking place around you? Do you see them as opportunities or threats?   Is your cup half full or half empty?  Or as one of our clients said recently, “at least we still have a cup!”