Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Guest Billy@MostMetro

Dayton brain drain

Recommended Posts

I imagine most people on this forum have heard of the book <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Rise-Creative-Class-Transforming-Community/dp/0465024777/sr=1-1/qid=1166396556/ref=sr_1_1/103-7947482-6597416?ie=UTF8&s=books">"Rise of the Creative Class"</a> by Richard Florida.  Well, he was in Dayton on Thursday night as a featured speaker at WSU.  His lecture was quite interesting even for somebody that had read his books and subscribes to his theories - especially since he spoke to the issues in Dayton specifically.

 

His blog mentions <a href="http://creativeclass.typepad.com/thecreativityexchange/2007/03/dayton_gets_cre.html">his visit to Dayton</a>, and it is nice to see that the audience left an impression on him...

 

As I'm sure Richard Florida has spoken at every major Ohio city at one time or another, have any of you seen his lecture or read his books?  How do you feel about his theories?  Has your city done anything as far as policy change or development that you think can be attributed to your city's leaders having listened to Richard Florida's ideas on what makes a successful city?

 

I've heard that the last time Florida was in Dayton, the city's leaders immediately using the phrase "Creative Class" as if it was THE new direction to take the city, and hence Tool Town became Tech Town (though I don't know since I wasn't here at the time)...  If this is the case, I think they only heard part of Florida's message; hopefully this time around they heard the whole message...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was curious if anyone at this site was going to go to that lecture. 

 

I've read portions of Florida's work and recognize there are some critques of it.  I think the concept is somewhat misunderstood as when people here the term "creative" they have certain stereotypes in mind, in terms of lifestyles and types of work.

 

Dayton actually appears on some of these creative class rankings as it has a high % of scientists and engineers and perhaps infotech people.  Quite a bit of this is due to the defense contractors and consultants related to Wright-Patterson AFB but there are also companies not in the Defense sector doing this work, such as CareSource and Workflow One, but also Lexis-Nexis, Reynolds and Reynolds, and firms we don't here much about.

 

This type of work is usually not what is thought of when one hears "creative class", yet this it is creative in its own way.

 

I've heard that the last time Florida was in Dayton, the city's leaders immediately using the phrase "Creative Class" as if it was THE new direction to take the city, and hence Tool Town became Tech Town (though I don't know since I wasn't here at the time)

 

Yes, that was posted at the Esrati blog.

 

I am not sure if this is the case, as this is what Esrati says, and it could be just his opinion.  I was famliar with the "Tool Valley Initiative" by the Dayton Development Coalition, which was somewhat related to Tool Town.  Perhaps the local economic development people decided to redirect focus to start-ups in new technologies and  technology transfer from WPAFB, as there was the knowlege that Asia (ROC and PROC) was going to be targeting the tool & die and moldmaking industry in the USA. The thought may have been that this was a fading line of buisness, perhaps not worth spending much effort on.

 

 

The model for the technology transfer concept is Sanford and MIT, where researchers moved from academia into buisness as they commercialized their discoveries.  In a sense they wore two hats, scientist or engineer + entrepeneur.  The creativity here is in creating and growing a buisness, as well as in scientific discovery & practical application.

 

That is a bit of the idea behind Tech Town (as they have something proposed about commercializing sensors technology) and that Composites Center over at the Patterson Research Park.

 

The question is whether this type of technology transfer combined with entrepeneurship, leading to new buisness start-ups, can happen in Dayton, with WPAFB.  A lot of what WPAFB induces in the area is sort of an artificial economy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for that informative post Jeff - I agree with what you said about the idea behind Tech Town is to somewhat mimic the knowledge transfer between institution and commercial (in Cambridge and Pittsburgh it is university-driven, in Dayton it is USAF-driven).  In Florida's lecture he discussed how Carnegie Mellon had spawned what would become at-the-time-tech-giant Lycos, only to see them relocate to Boston.  This happened because it was getting to be too much work to get the talent they needed to relocate to Pittsburgh, and the Boston area already had an extremely high talent pool from which to hire from. 

 

I can see the same thing happening in Dayton, which is ironically similar to this area's current brain drain.  Whether it is a new hi-tech business or a very bright student, it seems that we do a great job of grooming them here only to watch them grow up and eventually move to another city because Dayton doesn't have what they need.  At least Dayton is hardly the only Ohio city with this problem - I know the "brain-drain" problem exists even in Columbus.  But alas, I'm sure this has been covered in another post on this forum...

 

Btw - An interview with Richard Florida talking about his theories and Dayton can be heard on WYSO's NPR station : http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/wyso/arts.artsmain?action=viewArticle&sid=17&id=1046851&pid=25

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Both from the 6/4/07 DDN:

 

 

Dayton interns plan fun Summer in the City

Program offers social outings and events to show off the city and inspire college-age workers to stay in the area.

By James Cummings

Staff Writer

Monday, June 04, 2007

 

DAYTON — — Hope Smalls, 19, traveled around a lot with her military family and spent much of her childhood in Chicago before moving to the Page Manor military housing area about eight years ago.

 

"I asked the other kids what they did for fun, and they said they went to corn mazes. I thought 'Oh, my God. I'm living out in the country!' "

 

Smalls said the Dayton area definitely has grown on her since then.

 

"I actually love going to corn mazes now," she said.

 

Read More...

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wasn't aware that a task force and/or a "urban theorist" was needed to tell you that attracting the creative class should be a priority.

 

Creative Dayton: Will it work here?

Creative Class Task Force mobilizes after an urban theorist says cities need to attract a creative class

BY STEPHANIE GOTTSCHLICH | DAYTON DAILY NEWS

October 19, 2007

 

DAYTON — When urban theorist Richard Florida came to Wright State University in March for a speaking engagement, he captivated several local leaders with his ideas that if a city isn't attracting a "creative class" of workers, its economy will wither and die.

 

He left behind several fans, catalyzed by the idea that growing a creative class here could spur the economy.

 

Since then, a Creative Class Task Force with members from 21 area organizations — major employers, colleges and universities, hospitals, and arts, recreation and development groups — has quietly mobilized.

 

Read More...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dayton area has ingredients for creative class, says task force group

Members want to hire think tank Creative Glass Group to turn Dayton into a creative class magnet

BY STEPHANIE GOTTSCHLICH | DAYTON DAILY NEWS

October 19, 2007

 

DAYTON — All the ingredients for attracting and growing a creative class in Dayton are already here, say members of a task force working to hire the Creative Glass Group, a Washington, D.C., think tank founded by urban theorist Richard Florida.

 

"We've figured out in Dayton that no one is going to hand us anything, and that no single entity can turn things around alone," said J.P. Nauseef, president and CEO of the Dayton Development Coalition, a member of the Creative Class Task Force.

 

Dayton had a 14.4 percent drop in employment from 1990 to 2000, according to the U.S. Census, and task force members want to hire the think tank to turn Dayton into a creative class magnet as part of its overall plan for growing jobs and turning around the local economy.

 

Read More...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
But another study published in August in the Journal of Economic Geography tested the creative class theory and found that results supported the idea that a creative milieu attracting artists "increases an area's economic dynamism."

 

Not quite true.

 

From the conclusion to the referenced study.

 

Moving beyond the attraction of creative workers, our strong definition of creative milieu is more germane to the policy debate animated by discussion of the creative class. For metro areas, our findings are unsatisfying as they identify a potentially large effect, but one that fails to meet conventional standards of reliability.

 

Given the point estimate, metro counties in the top decile of creative milieu would generate close to twice the number of new establishments per worker compared to metro counties in the bottom decile. This is confirmed in the sample, where the top decile generated three establishments per hundred workers, on average, compared to 1.6 establishments generated in the bottom decile. Unfortunately, the standard error associated with the point estimate is large. The prudent conclusion is to suspend judgment on the existence of a strong creative milieu in metro areas.

 

Emoting With Their Feet: Bohemian attraction to the creative mileau

 

The authors work in ag/rural economics and this study was looking at the creative class in rural areas, though it did also look at urban areas.  Though they do provide the above cautions they do go on to say this....

 

Our indeterminate results on the existence of a strong creative milieu in metro areas will not be welcomed by opposing sides in the creative cities debate. However, arts communities may benefit the most from the caution inherent in the findings. Public spending on the arts, justified on the basis of increased regional competitiveness may very well be wasteful if directed to high visibility projects that do nothing to increase human-scale interaction. At the same time, evidence of a weak creative milieu ensures a city's attractiveness to artists is an important indicator of its ability to retain and attract creative workers. Any metropolitan region pursuing a creative economy strategy in earnest should engage local artists in devising the best ways to encourage the social and cultural interaction that engender creative milieus.

 

....and call for more research.

 

The research community can contribute to this effort by empirically examining the evolution of creative milieus across all cities.

 

Actually this is an interesting topic for research, as to why there is this correlation.

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As for the Dayton area:

 

The three T's: a talented, skilled, educated population; a tolerant, diverse community outlook; and a technological infrastructure necessary to support an entrepreneurial culture.

 

T # 1.  Maybe.  How does this place compare with other metro areas?  Probably average.

 

T # 2.  Well, we all like to think we and our communities are tolerant, don't we?  Probably average for that, too (though anecdotal personal experience says maybe not so tolerant).  I do not see how a community can become more or less tolernat.  This takes years, not something that happens fast.

 

T # 3  Don't know about the infrastructure, but maybe having an entrepeneurial culture is probably just as important as the infrastructure (what would that be?) to support it.  How does one foster or encourage the formation of an entrepeneurial culture if there isn't one already?

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Syracuse (NY) hired this guy to bring his "Creative class" concept to that city while I was living there.  It got a lot of coverage in the newspaper.  It went nowhere.

 

There are many reasons it went nowhere in Syracuse, and Syracuse is an almost exact copy of Dayton.

 

So I don't expect it to begin to succeed in Dayton at all.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thats actually rather interesting, both that Syracuse would have hired Florida and your remark on similiarities.  How do you see Dayton as a copy of Syracuse? I'd expect it to be closer to, maybe, Rochester.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Syracuse is much more like Dayton than Rochester.  Rochester was an area of invovation with 3 large companies driving the city - Kodak, Xerox, and Boush and Lamb.  Those companies were consider inovators during their time.

 

                        Dayton          Syracuse

-------------------------------------------------

metro Size:                800k        650k

Orientation:        mfg                  mfg

Home of...          Cash reg            Typewriters

Major Comapnies:  NCR, GM, R&R    Carrier, GE Consumer Div, NiMo Power, GM Plant, Chrylser plant

Major mfg (losses)  Auto, NCR      GE Consumer mft, GM Plant, Carrier mfg

Major labs            Write-Pat      GE lab (now LockheedMartin)

 

Having lived just south of Dayton, and in and around Syracuse, I consider them to be twin cities.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Both Dayton & Syracuse peaked in the late 1960s.  They've not exactly gone in the dumps since then, but neither has been hitting on all cylanders since that time.

 

About 7 years ago Syracuse had a consultant (I think it was Florida) come in and evaluate the city.  He praised cities like Ausin and Seattle as centers of the creative class.  Told Syracuse they should strive to emulate those cities.  After he left, the city leaders returned to doing what they had before he arrived - pay attention to the 5 or 6 biggest employers, give them what they wanted, and begged them to not downsize much any more.  Of course, the companies kept cutting jobs (Carrier moved all mfg out of Syracuse, losing 1500 jobs about 4 years ago).  The city keeps working with developers to try to expand the retail section of Syracuse.  Basically, the city ignored what Florida and his group said.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Having a creative class of people is only a part of the picture.  Everyplace has its share of the creative class, some more than others.  Obviously the city needs a critical mass of these people, but the presense of a large university seems to go a long way toward that. (Syracuse U is not much bigger than Miami U, and Cornel is in the area.)

 

You need leaders who foster and ecourage the creative class, but more importantly, you need the resources to sustain the creative class and the outlet to turn their ideas into money.

 

This is where Venture capital is critical. Without access to money, ideas just don't go anywhere.  I was working with some people in Syracuse that wanted to start a software development company.  We had numerous meetings and actually had a product developed.  But when we went looking for money, forget it.  There were few venture capital companies working in the area, and the local lenders were as conservative as they come. The guy heading up the effort was not from Syracuse, and kept saying that because he did not go to the same local schools and because his children didn't play football with the bank's children, no one would take him seriously.  So the availability of capital is critical to turn Dayton (or Syracuse) into another Austin.

 

There is more... I may write more later.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As an outsider who finds Dayton oddly attractive, and  whose roots are firmly in the regions of both cities (Dad from Scranton PA, Mom from Cleveland, I grew up in Mid Michigan) I give Dayton the advantage in two areas:

1. Syracuse is one of the few places to which Dayton can claim to have the superior climate

2. Dayton is not in a state dominated by one super city

 

Otherwise, Cincydad, I think your assessment is correct.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, googling this a bit, I see that it was Florida + the Battelle Institute doing a joint venture consultancy for the Syracuse region.  It seems his consultancy had a different name back then.

 

Anyway, I was thinking Rochester <----> Dayton due to the Kodax/Xerox industry being comparable (at one time) to NCR.  It seems that Syracuse is closer, based on those economic parallels you draw.

 

The question about enterpeneurs and access to capital is a good one.

 

I wonder how this used to work in Dayton, as this city did have a lot of smaller start up firms in the tool and die industry until recenlty.  I figure there was some sort of network of angel investors from the industry, or familiar with it, combined with people starting up job shops using their own and famliy money, or little partnerships. 

 

Banks are pretty rare sources for startup finance. The one big exception I read about was Boston in the 1960s.  The city was pretty moribund back then, and the banks, or some of them (Shawmut was one, I think), decided to invest in whatever little startup there was, taking a gamble that some economic activity was better than none, and a lot of this was in early infotech, which helped the local economy in the 1970s  & 80s when infotech took off. 

 

Boston also had some early VC operations too (I think Digital had early VC support).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, googling this a bit, I see that it was Florida + the Battelle Institute doing a joint venture consultancy for the Syracuse region.  It seems his consultancy had a different name back then.

 

Anyway, I was thinking Rochester <----> Dayton due to the Kodax/Xerox industry being comparable (at one time) to NCR. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pushing the comparisons, I would see

 

                                            Rochester<---->Cincinnati

                                              Buffalo    <--->    Cleveland

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^ having been in all of those cities on multiple occasions, I would tend to agree with your comparrisons, in a very broad, general sense, especially if you consider the "feel" of the city.

 

One big difference is that Cincinnati is twice as big as Rochester, and Rochester was really a one-company town (Kodak).  Xerox was big there 30 years ago, but has been a dwindling factor ever sense. In fact, it's HQ is no longer in Roch. But Kodak was to Rochester what P&G, Krogers, and GE combined are to Cincy. It dominates the city to that degree.  The problem is, Kodak has been cutting its workforce right and left, down probably 50% in the past 15 years!  Kodak was late to the digital camera business.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

'Creative class' group makes economic growth plans

By Stephanie Gottschlich, Staff Writer

 

Thursday, March 06, 2008

 

DAYTON — The 32 local "creative class catalysts," the moniker given to volunteers working to grow a creative class in the Dayton and Springfield areas, announced five initiatives on Thursday, March 6, for spurring the area's economy through developing local creative talent ...

 

For more information, please visit www.daytondailynews.com_n_content_oh_story_news_local_2008_03_06_ddn030708floridaweb.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...