Monday, April 7, 2008

Sunday Op-Ed Column on the Creative Region Initiative

Ellen Belcher wrote a very favorable column in Sundays op-ed about the Creative Region Initiative:

Dayton's Young, Restless Get Creative

One would expect the DDN to be on-board as one of their columnists is part of the team as a “Creative Catalyst” (he has been blogging on occasion on some of the CRI initiatives). Apparently one can expect more coverage on the program as the CRI folks will shortly be having a sit-down with the DDN editorial staff.

Ellen Belcher did have this aside near the end of her column that I thought was interesting, and a bit out of left-field considering the general theme:

(If Wright-Patterson's labs were private companies, if their research weren't secret and conducted behind a fence, if the base's scientists were selling their "business" and achievements in trade magazines and The Wall Street Journal, Dayton wouldn't have such a difficult time promoting itself as a technology center. After all, a community is defined in important ways by how its companies brand themselves. Wright-Patterson has a great brand, but it's best known among defense contractors and those in the Air Force. Translating the respect that Wright-Patterson's researchers command, and the intellectual synergy that exists on base and nearby, to a wider audience is a challenge.)

A paradox. For security reasons it’s best that WPAFB and its cluster of defense contractors play it close-hold outside the “fortress”, the defense community. But without this visibility Dayton’s “brand” is just another rotting Midwest industrial city where, long ago, two guys invented the airplane.


Greg Hunter said...

I think it was an interesting and perceptive comment. It shows that Ellen is growing as a person. She is recognizing the down side of this un questioned Military Budget with little positive return on investment in the world or the Dayton community.

It is a point that should be discussed.

Hilary said...

I completely agree, greg. It seems dangerous to stake the entire economy on a military installation. Especially when we cannot fully captalize on WPAFB projects.

We need to consider economic diversification; we need to show investors and businesses the other positives of the Dayton Community.

Anonymous said...

I had an idea the other day -- what if the Dayton Engineer's Club was to take on a totally new mission, different than the current nerdy country club vibe it has?

What if they were to eliminate/massively reduce dues (but still have a membership roll), and start using the club as a real innovation incubator? Imagine if there was a non-profit "hub" to tie many of the technology workers -- from the labs and military contractors to the factories, machine shops, and startups? Start hosting seminars and colloquia, tech expos and fairs, as well as lots of social networking events? The base labs have started some innovative engineering collaboration centers where contractors, academics, and government types can meet and work on ideas without worrying about all the IP law. This should be another outreach of the club.

I'd argue the outreach items should happen all over -- from the base, to the factories, wherever there are techinical people that would gain from the exposure, but utilize the club itself for the social stuff. This should really draw a large portion of the 20-30s set, and give them chances to meet people and have a social home.

Where would this be payed for from? I don't know, I'm dreaming. Perhaps a large community grant? A corporate bequest? A public/private partnership?

The gist of my ideas is that some aspects of this grassroots Creative Initiative stuff already have mainstream infrastructure they could tap into.

Greg Hunter said...

If you need any help anonymous, I would be glad to help, but maybe we need to pick a location, like the OE to have a meeting of this sort. It would be great to be at the Engineers Club.

Hilary said...

Great idea! I doubt the Engineer's Club will want to reduce those dues...but I bet your idea is quite possible with a change of location.
Still, the idea of a 'club' or almost a secret society of innovation is extremely appealing.

Jefferey said...

>"The base labs have started some innovative engineering collaboration centers where contractors, academics, and government types can meet and work on ideas without worrying about all the IP law."<

This sounds interesting and promising.

Anonymous said...

Here's a link to the current facility, Tec-Edge. It's run by the Wright Brothers Institute, a non-profit. It's located in Riverside on Springfield street, across Woodman from the Air Force Museum.