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Tama Co. Economic Development By Heath Kellogg

December 21, 2018
Northern-Sun Print
Cowboy sits next to Silicon Valley kid on the overnight train ride. Cowboy really wants to sleep, but Silicon Valley kid won't shut up, describing the wonders of technology. - Nowadays I can find an answer to any question, no matter how hard, you just need to know how to use tech! Cowboy really wants to sleep. But the kid keeps showing his gadgets, latest phone, smart watch, tablet. And he won't shut up. Finally he goes: - Let's play the game, I ask you any question. If you answer it, I pay a buck, if you can't answer, you pay me a buck. And then you ask your question. Cowboy doesn't want to play, he wants to sleep. But the kid keeps going: - Ok, how about if you don't know the answer, you pay a buck, but if I don't know the answer, I pay you a hundred? Seeing there is no other way to sleep, Cowboy finally agrees. The kid goes first: - What's the distance from the earth to the moon? Cowboy immediately hands over a buck. Then it's his turn - What goes up on 13 legs, but goes down on 7? The kid pulls out a laptop and starts searching. Cowboy finally falls asleep. Early morning, the kid shakes up the cowboy. He was up all night, red eyes, shaking. - Ok, fine, here is your hundred, I couldn't figure out what it is! Cowboy pockets the bill and closes his eyes. The kid shakes him up again. - Hey, hey! So what is it?! Cowboy hands over a buck. It was Owen Laughlin who once said "Money never starts an idea. It is always the idea that starts the money". You know, when you stop and think, it is unfortunate that today we often think of innovation only in terms of new technologies. We fail to recognize that innovation can happen everywhere (especially within a business). For years, the suggestion box was little more than an office gag-a handy receptacle for notes telling the boss to kindly drop dead. But in U.S. industry, employee suggestions are no longer a joking matter; the old suggestion box has gone social: Companies are finding that ideas come from the interplay and free exchange between employees. So many are creating opportunities for employees to get together and brainstorm. The Japanese have long done this informally with their after-work get togethers (though sometimes those involve excessive drinking). It doesn't really seem to matter how it's done, as long as it's done together. New ideas are coming from playfulness and humor, so if fun is not a dirty word at your business, you'll hear a lot more ideas every day. Economic growth will always require expanded innovation. Go back to the beginning of our country and look at how we rose to greatness - we did it by leading the world in innovation. Our country was founded on the freedoms that allowed the innovators to innovate. This is the "can do attitude" that has built our country into a great nation. Whether you are an owner or an employee, we all need to be allowed to freely think, build, and innovate.



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