Message From the Chair Emeritus—Richard Johanson
…and so we prepare to say goodbye to another year and welcome in a new one. It bodes to be a year that holds within it an opportunity for all of us to join ever closer together on an ever widening pathway leading to a better tomorrow for all among us. Our degree of success will depend upon our commitment to each other. We must continue to broaden our vision of what we can accomplish as a united community. Philosophical extremism and personality issues are being exposed as counterproductive. Soon those who employ them to keep us fragmented will be overlooked. They are being replaced by effective leadership arising from stewardship-focused individuals and organizations, locally, regionally and statewide. The New Year holds great promise for this region because of this emerging aura of creative collaboration. In that spirit, I wish everyone a harmonious and prosperous New Year.
Looking Back—Two Major Reports Issued in 2000
In 2000, the Great Valley Center released two seminal reports, The Economic Future of the San Joaquin Valley and the Survey of Current Area Needs (SCAN) that struck a chord and mighty response in Fresno. With the assistance of the James Irvine Foundation and in kind support from Fresno State and the Fresno Business Council, the Fresno Area Collaborative Regional Initiative was launched. Similar efforts were initiated across the state as part of a network of regions seeking to address critical economic, social and environmental issues comprehensively. From this platform, two more focused efforts were launched: the Regional Jobs Initiative and the Human Investment Initiative to address job creation and human development. Many specific projects and a wide range of clusters have led to an impressive list of results. In addition, we have learned through experimentation how to apply a new type of thinking (holistic) to complex challenges helping to align siloed efforts and leverage existing resources. 2011 holds the promise of scale and acceleration.
Key Messages From the Economic Strategy
The new economy is innovative, fast, global, knowledge-based, networked and technology intensive. Our challenge is a shift from competing primarily on low-cost to an economy based upon innovation, resilience and diversification. The key recommendations and our community’s response:
• Develop networks of regional leaders (California Partnership for the SJV)
• Create cluster networks (Regional Jobs Initiative)
• Develop an innovative workforce (CART, align workforce with clusters)
• Focus technology on innovation in all clusters
(Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship)
• Support entrepreneurship (Lyles Center, Central Valley Business Incubator)
Along with responses to specific recommendations, we have developed a new culture. Where once collaboration was a noun, today it is all verb and expected.