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Some Current Resources

Here are a few responses from readers who want to alert you to their information relevant to posts on SP3.  I do not sponsor these sites. Dan Bank Rate put together this resource to provide useful information on what prospective homeowners should expect if they’re planning to move to the suburbs or into the city in the near future.…

This is Exactly the Time: Consider Climate Change and Other Environmental Challenges

We cannot ignore the current situation with economic and health issues dominating our world. GreenBiz, an environmental advocacy organization, brought this information to my attention.  A quote in a Bloomberg article about sustainability and the U.S. economic crisis caught my attention. The quote came from Ted Nordhaus, co-founder of the Breakthrough Institute, a research group, whose self-described…

2020 Could be a Unique Time for Environmental Sustainability

2020 came quickly for most people and it marks more than just the beginning of a new decade. Did you know that many policy designers set 2020 as the year during which many environmental and social targets would be achieved?  Green Power is growing, as well. Germany’s second most popular party is the Green Party, founded in…

What Do We Owe The Future?

Elijah Cummings, Representative in the U.S. House of Representatives, from Baltimore’s 7th District, died October 17, 2019. Many people in our country from various political points of view recognize his civil rights advocacy and senior statesman status.  Cummings has an answer to our question about what we owe the future: “Our children are the living messages…

Thinking Differently About Upward Mobility and Environmental Sustainability

I’ve been having fun reading and imagining new approaches to upward mobility, environmental sustainability, and living the good life! All issues that have occupied my mind these last years. Here, I offer some of those ruminations (in a different type of blog from my previous ones). As you read this list, think of books and other materials…

Justice, Injustice and Human Decency

Adam SmithVernon Smith is a professor at Chapman University and the 2002 Nobel laurate in economics for his work in experimental economics.  He shared the prize with Daniel Kahneman, the better known among wider audiences, and who wrote Thinking Fast and Slow.  One of Vernon’s Smith’s expertise regards Adam Smith’s writings.  Vernon Smith wrote an…

We Can Do Affordable Housing

Affordable Housing is core to upward mobility. It is fundamental to a healthy community that has family stability, thriving diversity, and a region that attracts rather than repels people. It is a glue that keeps people here, engaged, and thriving. Charlotte, North Carolina: A little over a year ago, Foundation For The Carolinas issued a challenge…

Upward Mobility Solutions Include Financial Returns

Upward mobility is a critical issue across the country.  The previous newsletter addressed the work by Raj Chetty and how the lack of upward mobility is being experienced across the country. If we step back, we see all sorts of challenges that can be addressed and which impact upward mobility. One source of information is from…

Upward Mobility Continues to be a Challenge

The lack of upward mobility is a critical social issue. Contemporary information shows that a person’s health is often more about his or her zip code in addition to their genetic code. Geographic location matters, social capital matters, and institutionalized racism matters. The Fading American Dream: Trends in Absolute Income Mobility since 1940. David Grusky, Maximilian…

Graduation – Now What?

On August 16, 2017, I gave graduation advice to an MBA class receiving their diplomas that summer. I think it is time again to address the graduation classes that are passing a significant life milestone. As you know, we are in a very different place from August 2016. I join the many others who are…

Systems Thinking – Part 3: From Chaos to Calm

The previous blog addressed the more general nature of systems thinking. It briefly descripted the six phases of systems thinking:  Launch; Discovery; Build Maps; Find Leverage; Act Strategically and Learn. This blog completes our conversation by describing the following phases: building maps, finding leverage, acting strategically, and learning.  A system means a configuration of parts…

The Systems Thinking Process

System means a configuration of parts connected and joined together by a web of relationships. Systems thinking and the practice of systems thinking is a set of methods and ways to identify and address challenges; to see underlying patterns, find leverage points; and to choose actions that may provide healthier outcomes. Systems thinking and practices…

Systems Thinking

So many of the issues I’ve discussed in the SP3 blogs involve unique ways of thinking – most notably, systems thinking, strategic thinking, and design thinking.  By definition, a system is a configuration of parts connected and joined together by a web of relationships. Systems thinking, and practices are methods and ways to identify and…

The Green New Deal

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (ACO) was not quite four weeks old when the Eastern European wall fell. She experienced the Soviet Bloc’s “third way” during her childhood and amazing global growth throughout her teenage years. Similar to the U.K.’s Jeremy Corbyn and US Bernie Sanders, she now identifies as a socialist. Her democratic socialism is more than…

Why Opportunity Zones may be interesting for investors tackling upward mobility challenges

The U.S. government designed Opportunity Zones as part of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, in order to spur investment in distressed U.S. communities. Governments of each state, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories nominated specific neighborhoods as Opportunity Zones. Up to 25 percent of the low-income census tracts in each state could be…

The New Year and Climate Change

We should start the new year with a reminder – a reminder that climate change is not going away as a concern. Here are some data points for you to consider. As appeared in the Wall Street Journal on January 17, 2019: ECONOMISTS’ STATEMENT ON CARBON DIVIDENDS. Who signed this statement: 4 Former chairs of the Federal…

Four ways you can limit your impact on the climate. By Shannon Binns*

With our state still reeling from the devastating impact of Florence, the world’s most esteemed climate scientists issued a dire warning: we have 12 years to act to avoid catastrophic climate change. Here in North Carolina, we already know what catastrophe looks like – Florence gave us a taste of it, with unusually intense rainfall…

Finding Our Common Humanity

The news about the Fourth U.S. Climate Assessment and how President Trump responded dismissively and with a lack of knowledge, highlights the importance of supporting the science of our environment and embracing our need for collective action. The environmental challenges humans face are worldwide – a statement that often alludes national entities. Australia can teach…

Circular Economy

This past week I gave a short talk at the Wipe out Waste Annual Banquet to honor companies who have done excellent work in the Charlotte region to wipe out waste.  The event was sponsored by Mecklenburg County and several business organizations. My topic – the circular economy which refers to a regenerative system in…

Learning Strategy Through GE’s Eyes

I’ve often mentioned GE as a company to watch as it goes through its transition. I could not resist writing about them in this week’s blog since just about a year ago, in August 2017, General Electric brought in John Flannery to help revive the company. In November, the new CEO said the company was streamlining…

Unconscious Bias – A Killer for Upward Mobility

My work on upward mobility has led me to unexpected places.  One of the unexpected places has been an exploration of unconscious bias.  I am a research consumer on related topics and I’ve learned that we humans have lots of unconscious biases.  I also learned what is meant by systems thinking and institutionalized biases such…

Upward Mobility is an Issue Throughout the World

Upward mobility is an issue throughout the world, and the U.S. is no exception. In earlier blogs and newsletters, I reported on Raj Chetty’s work. A defining feature of the “American Dream” is upward income: the idea that children have a higher standard of living than their parents. Chetty’s work shows that children’s prospects of earning…

Implementing Strategy: The Importance of Principles

Several people have contacted me recently in regards to implementing a strategy. So, here is my view of the important principles for effective strategy implementation. Principles guide behavior and they serve to alert others what is important in the organization. What are the principles you advocate? I summarize my ideas in four phrases: Dreams +…

Summarizing Strategic Thinking

Over the last few months, I’ve been outlining my approach to strategic thinking. One way to summarize this approach is to list a set of questions you can ask of your organization about internal analyses, external analyses, gaining focus, and quality implementation- the four criteria for an effective strategy. I’ve added a fifth area, questions…

Corporate Strategy Puzzles Leaders

Competition occurs at the business-unit level and it is essential that a firm uses the tools of competitive strategy in order to create a competitive advantage for its business units. Many firms have more than one business unit and compete in multiple industries. That being said, a multi-business firm must have a corporate strategy that…

Fine-tuning a Strategy

Dozens of schools of thought claim to have the most widely applicable and useful framework for strategy development and implementation. The purpose of the table below is to show how an organization can choose the most appropriate fine-tuning school of thought in order to make for a compelling argument to proceed in one direction versus…

A Strategic Mindset Results from Strategic Thinking

A main benefit of strategic thinking is that it creates a strategic mindset that is cognizant of several principles: All organizational members contribute to strategic thinking and have a means to contribute to what to do and what not to do. Organizational leaders do their best strategy work by finding ways to involve as many…

The Analysis: Positioning the Organization and Supporting the Positioning

I’ve organized this material to take account of inevitable uncertainties, proven principles, and the connection between strategy content (what is or should be the strategy of the organization) and strategy process (how to determine the strategy and how to best implement it). Strategy content and strategy process are treated with equal importance as two sides…

Effective Strategies

Most effective strategies begin with a compelling diagnostic analysis of the organization’s challenges. This diagnosis involves both internal and external analyses that lead to a judgement about the meaning of the facts. This judgment is just that– your best ideas of what you learned about your organization, its challenges, and potential avenues to create value.…

What is Strategic Thinking?

Strategic thinking is a focus on analyzing an organization’s past and current situations to make decisions for future actions. Most of the analytical techniques managers use to think strategically are frameworks that allow them to identify, clarify, and understand relevant factors in setting an organization’s future course. Such frameworks are invaluable to help one come…

Entrepreneurs Can be Developed!

In the past few months I published several blogs related to entrepreneurship: Advice for Entrepreneurial Success:  Opportunity Seeking, Feasibility Studies, and a Viable Mindset What is Entrepreneurship? Entrepreneurship, Social Entrepreneurship, and Impact Investing. Serving Entrepreneurs in Distressed Communities. Ecosystems Have Powerful Lessons for Supporting Entrepreneurs. What Makes for a Healthy Entrepreneurial Ecosystem? Learn from the…

Learn from the Best

In Quirky, NYU Stern School of Business professor Melissa Schilling embraces the “great person” view of innovation, which focuses more on the individual rather than the organization. Yet, her work has implications for organizational practices to become more innovative. Many recent studies of innovation have focused on the importance of collaboration and social setting, and…

Thick Markets: A Method for Creating Location Advantage

In my last newsletter, I discussed entrepreneurial ecosystems. Related to the ecosystems is the idea of using a geographic location as a source of competitive advantage. Some location issues are overcome by clusters, innovation hubs, and economic agglomerations (terms that are used interchangeably). These location solutions derive from thick labor markets (with plenty of skilled…

Locate to Gain Advantage

Businesses must frequently make decisions about where to locate operations, home offices, and sales locations. These decisions impact the design of supply chains and the ability of companies to reach important customers, attract and retain employees, improve their environmental outcomes, and to manage their cost structures. Many firms must decide whether to centralize operations to…

What Makes for a Healthy Entrepreneurial Ecosystem?

One can find advice in many places. For example, the Kaufmann Foundation has a robust set of materials and even a yearly conference called the ESHIP Summit. The Kaufmann Foundation states the following:  The two biggest threats to entrepreneurial ecosystems are leader burnout and community stagnation. A more robust peer community of ecosystem builders can…

Offshore Wind is Taking Off

by  Ivan Regueira, Sr. Procurement Manager & Supply Strategist for Power, CB&I Inc. Recently GE Renewable Energy announced its plans to develop a 12 MW offshore wind turbine. From my perspective, this announcement was monumental because it would double the output of the largest wind turbines available today and dramatically reduce the installed cost of offshore…

Ecosystems Have Powerful Lessons for Supporting Entrepreneurs

“Ecosystem” is the go-to metaphor for regional entrepreneurship. The Kaufman Foundation, popular press commentary, Charlotte,North Carolina, and San Francisco, California all make references to creating an entrepreneurial ecosystem to facilitate economic growth, impact upward mobility, and build a strong regional economy.  The entrepreneurial ecosystems metaphor means that new firms emerge and grow due to talented entrepreneurs and…

Serving Entrepreneurs in Distressed Communities

Design Thinking is a methodology that has gained popularity as a solution-based approach to solving problems that are ill-defined, have limited data available, and involve human interactions. I have covered considerable material related to design thinking in previous blogs. A certificate program at Wake Forest University taught this material to students seeking to address social and…

Sustainability Programs Can Help to Avoid the Death of Our U.S. Democracy

This week, I take a break from discussing entrepreneurship and explore an issue that seems to be in the minds of many in higher education. Higher education is currently under attack for its political correctness. In 2013, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education counted 34 speaker disinvitation attempts. For example, The University of Pennsylvania…

Climate Change Information for Innovative Solutions

Many people are often confused about where to go for information related to climate change and actions they can take to increase the likelihood of a decarbonized world. Therefore, I have compiled a list of sites that may be of interest to individuals looking to learn more about climate change and also take action. These…

Entrepreneurship, Social Entrepreneurship, and Impact Investing

Entrepreneurs are often seen as engines of growth (i.e., they harness opportunities and innovation to fuel economic advancement). Social entrepreneurs, like their business counterparts, are similarly focused; they tap into vast reserves of ambition, creativity, and resourcefulness to solve large, intractable problems. [i] Social entrepreneurs pioneer innovative, effective, and sustainable approaches to meet the needs…

What is Entrepreneurship?

Entrepreneurial activity is often supported by political leaders believing in free markets, championed by social groups, reinforced by infrastructure at universities, embraced by venture capitalists, and is integrated into local, state, and federal governments. The term “entrepreneur” could refer to anyone who starts a business; however, in this blog post, I prefer to use a…

Advice for Entrepreneurial Success: Opportunity Seeking, Feasibility Studies, and a Viable Mindset

This post outlines three keys to entrepreneurial success: finding opportunities, conducting feasibility studies, and developing an entrepreneurial mindset. Finding Opportunities [i] An important first consideration is where aspiring entrepreneurs find opportunities – what one author calls “finding fertile ground.” Certain knowledge conditions are favorable for start-up businesses. For example, when knowledge is not complex, entrepreneurs can…

Blockchains Are Meaningful to Sustainability

A blockchain is a digital, public ledger of transactions that are recorded publicly. A blockchain is constantly growing as ‘completed’ blocks are added to it with new sets of recordings. The blocks are added to the blockchain in a linear, chronological order. The blockchain is the underlying ledger system in digital currencies such as bitcoin.…

Against Social Responsibility of the Firm

CSR (also known as corporate social responsibility, corporate citizenship, or building a sustainable corporation) reflects a company’s policies and procedures that respond to the social needs of various stakeholders. The term has become a new corporate disclosure and is showing up in stock indexes, internal and external reports, and community actions. Companies want to tell…

What Are You Reading? Recommendations for the Coming Year

What are you reading these days? People obviously read for a variety of reasons and their choices tend to marry their intent for the reading. Pleasure, informational, even social affiliation often work as motives. Below are a handful of recommendations addressing the tremendous challenges we face in our communities. These fiction and nonfiction recommendations are…

Investing for Impact, Not Just Returns

This blog post provides insight on SP3’s approach to improving upward mobility in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area. Upward mobility refers to an intergenerational movement from one social level to a higher one and all the related benefits a group of people gain from this upward movement. In 2013, a Harvard University/UC Berkeley study found that Charlotte-Mecklenburg ranked…

The Autism Community Needs to Pay Attention to Climate Change

by Dr. Krista Singleton-Cambage, Founder and CEO, Sustainability Connections This week the annual climate change gathering kicks off, with delegates from around the world descending on Bonn, Germany. The rotating host country this year is Fiji and, in an interesting partnership, they are bringing the Pacific to Europe to hold the meeting near the UN…

We Can Make a Difference – The Climate Model

This is a summary of the last several weeks’ blog posts dedicated to getting people to care, act, and adapt to human-caused conditions of climate change. Imagine owning property on the North Carolina coast and knowing it will be underwater in 15 years. Insurance companies will not insure the property as current projections show that…

Educate to Create Change

This is the final blog exploring the “E” in the CLIMATE model. “E” represents education and its ability to build capacity to address important issues such as climate change and other environmental and social challenges. In this blog, I focus on educating future organizational leaders in the university setting. The target markets are individuals entering…
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