I just read a new book called appropriately enough The Smartest Places on Earth: Why Rustbelts are the Emerging HOTSPOTS of Global Innovation by Antoine van Agtmael and Fred Bakker, a book that everyone in business today should pick up and read.
This is by far the most optimistic book of the year because it talks about the future, the real future not the made up future that we are hearing about from our politicians these days. This is a book talking about the future of the world, not just this country, and not a future that is just another rosy glassed pipe dream but rather a future that is going on right now in the present. They talk about how once downtrodden has-been communities are raising themselves up from the ashes and debris of defeat to the success they are experiencing today.
The book tells stories of collaboration, of how people of all cultures and backgrounds are coming together in certain parts of the world to make things happen. If you think building a wall is the right thing to do then read this book and get out of your xenophobic funk. If you think that all countries should be operating in nationalistic creative limiting silos then you need to read this book. If you think that our world is based on every man or woman for himself or herself you need to read this book.
Right from the get go in the first chapter the authors talk about “Brain belts” replacing “Rust belts” and it is happening because smart people (remember smart people and how we used to like them instead of calling them “elites”) are coming together in collaborative coalitions to do great and innovative things.
Here are some great and yes, real live examples:
- Dayton, Ohio is now the center of world leadership for the innovation for the Aerospace industry, developing new materials and sensors through the collaboration of The University of Dayton, and the National Air & Aviation Intelligence Center-Kettering.
- Rochester, New York is now one of the world’s centers for Photonics.
- Buffalo and Albany, New York working with SUNY is a center working on research for developing super batteries and clean energy.
- Detroit, Michigan is not becoming a world leader in robotics as well as automotive.
- Rochester, Minnesota is a center for all Life sciences not only electronics but organics as well.
- Albany, New York is a world center for Semi-conductors by working with SUNY as well with scientists from all over the world they are developing and creating the world’s largest semi-conductors.
That’s right Albany, New York not Milpitas, California.
And many more from Austin, Texas to Raleigh, North Carolina and from Akron, Ohio to Boston, Massachusetts and from Portland, Oregon to Ann Arbor, Michigan people and institutions are coming together, working together and doing great things together, things that none of them could do alone. And these are not just Americans, these are scientists from all over the world coming together and creating these “Brain belts” that are changing everything we do and changing it for the better. Companies, Universities, Banks and investors and inventors are coming together in a true spirit of collaboration and cooperation to develop products of the future, products that are going to take us into a future we once could only dream about.
Lest we forget this is a global effort with the same sort of “Brain belts” being developed in The Netherlands: Semiconductors, Finland: Medical instrumentation, Germany: Automotives and Robotics, and The United Kingdom: Bioscience.
And the best thing by far is that all of these people in these Brain Belts are working with each other, sharing information in the hopes of finding global solutions to global problems. To all of these groups there are no walls there are no knowledge inhibitors at all in fact in many cases there are not even any patents, these groups are openly sharing their ideas and innovations with the common goal of making the world a better place.
If I may add my two cents just the very fact that these people are on this journey and in this way is already making the world a better place.
So now it’s our turn. What are we in the PCB industry going to do? Do we keep working in our provincial silos scared to death that someone is going to steal our little “proprietary secrets” (secrets that are actually pretty safe right now because no board shop in our “not invented here industry” would ever deem to lower themselves to someone elses idea) or are we going to open up to each other and most importantly to open up to these new Brain Belts and offer up our services?
It should be a very easy decision actually. The smart PCB companies should be heading to Albany and Buffalo and Akron and Detroit and Raleigh and Austin and all of the other Smartest Places on Earth seeing what they can do to help.
There is a whole new and exciting and creative movement going on in the world right now and all you have to do is get yourself involved and you’ll be part of this movement of the future.
Its only common sense