1.1 Introduction

To maximize the experience for those who will join us for our September 2nd Economic Development Summit, we will, over the next several weeks address some economic development fundamentals, concepts, and language. Topics will include Regionalism, Home Rule, Advocacy, Marketing, Ecosystems, Clusters, Private-Public Partnerships, and other factors that relate to the creation of High-Skilled and High Wage Job growth in Deerfield Beach.

1.2 Economic Development vs. Economic Impact

For Economic Development Organizations (EDOs) such as Enterprise Florida, Business Development Board of Palm Beach County, Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance and the Deerfield Beach EDC, economic development is generally measured in terms of “targeted industry” job growth and associated strategic long-term investment. In theory, a city’s tax base rises by developing communities that support meaningful job growth. For Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) such as Visit Florida, convention and visitor bureaus (CVBs), and tourism boards, economic impact is primarily measured by visitor revenue generated through increased sales, sales and bed taxes, and purchases of retirement and vacation homes.

EDOs and DMOs have evolved into professional industries of highly specialized practitioners with different KPI’s. Unclear messaging surrounding the terms “development” and “impact” is partially due to the lack of coordination between the two disciplines and the great work they do.

As we approach the summit, let’s focus on community job growth and economic development.

1.3 Regionalism

Re·gion·al·ism /ˈrējənlˌizəm/

noun: regionalism; plural noun: regionalisms

  1. “the theory or practice of regional rather than central systems of administration or economic, cultural, or political affiliation.” The definition above uses the conjunction “or” at the exclusion of “and.” The definition gives us clues.

What if we developed regional high-skilled-high-wage job growth (economic) development strategies independently from cultural or political considerations?

As we approach the 2021 Summit, let’s look at our region in terms of commuting time and proximity to resources to help job-producing businesses prosper.

1.4 Public–Private Partnerships

Public–Private partnerships (PPP, 3P, or P3) vary in complexity and scope. The following description from Britannica.com is broad enough for our purposes.

“In its most basic sense, a partnership is any business or institutional association within which joint activity takes place. A PPP exists from the moment one or more public organizations agree to act in concert with one or more private organizations.”

The operative word is partnership.

When Nesbitt coined the phrase “high tech- high touch” in the bell-weather book “Megatrends”, he concluded that the shelf life of technology was too short to ensure market dominance. Data then and now, proved that focus on “high touch” customer experience would always be a difference-maker. The best practice data suggested the best way to build a culture of customer service is to treat your employees and partners, as customers.

Partnerships, businesses, and marriages fail despite best intentions. Nothing grows in straight lines, there are peaks and valleys. Saint Francis’ 13th-century desire” to seek to understand,” which evolved 700 years later into Covey’s 5th principle, compels us to build effective partnerships built upon humility, trust, and integrity.

Early on, the EDC’s Private Sector Partners held on to the notion that they have access to resources and connections that are typically beyond the scope of the public sector. It didn’t happen overnight, however, realizing that our public partners have access to resources typically beyond private sector scope has changed everything.

1.5 Two Separate EDO Approaches

Imagine an open-ended expanding spiral of energy, like a tornado. At the base is a ring labeled Customer Service, followed by expanding rings called Sales and Marketing, feeding each other in the same sequence as the expanding funnel moves forward.

Now replace customer service with “Retention,” helping companies prosper and expand,  and sales with “Recruiting,” encouraging companies to join existing targeted industry clusters. You are left with the strategic focus of most economic development organizations, Retaining, Recruiting and Marketing.  It all starts with energy focused on customer service (retention.)

Important Note: Some EDO’s focus their energy exclusively on Advocacy, political action or lobbying. Public-Private Partnerships in Economic Development almost never take an advocacy approach. We educate rather than advocate.

Looking forward to seeing you all at the Summit. Get your tickets if you have not done so already.

1.6 Targeted Industry Cluster Focus

Targeted industry cluster focus is fundamental to successful economic development. The federal government has identified nine targeted industries. The following excerpt for a recent Clemson University Study illustrates the value of such an approach:

“An industry cluster is a geographically bounded collection of similar and/or related firms that together create competitive advantages for member firms and the local economy. The targeting of economic development programs at industry clusters provides three principal advantages: multiplier effects are stronger, employment growth potential is enhanced, and new firm spin-offs are promoted.”

1.7 Leaving the Summit

The Blog series title “Approaching the Summit” was a play on words, a double double entendre.
We go up mountains because they are there. The climb is easier with proper preparation. Along the way we get a glimpse of the view through the trees. But nothing prepares us for the view from the summit. Doing the work, the journey, pales only slightly to the view from the top where we see more than we expected.

What next?

By any measure our 2021 Summit was a success, our keynote, panelists and facilitators exceeded our expectations. The attendees included a few people we knew and many we didn’t, all seemingly drawn by the view. The preparation, connecting with presenting subject matter experts as well as our guests, pales only slightly from the view.

With the summit behind us, we have pictures and memories. We are not the climbers we were approaching the summit; we are better prepared for the approach to future summits.

Our path to the next summit continues with the goal from the last; to improve regional focus on high-skilled high wage job growth.

Interested in joining the Deerfield Beach EDC?