Friday, March 13, 2015

The Benefits of Creating Win-Win Strategies as San Diego Goes Global

San Diego has decided that it is going to make a firm commitment to the global economy. An initiative of 30+ companies, San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, UC San Diego and the City of San Diego want to expand growth opportunities in the area by creating more export opportunities. Those export opportunities result in higher wages and more jobs but will rely heavily on win-win strategic outcomes.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer describes the Going Global initiative as "Opportunities and innovation abound in San Diego and it's time to tell the world (1)." The goal appears to be about getting products out of San Diego and into the global market while drawing investment into the region to capitalize on the core competencies of life sciences, blue technology and cyber knowledge.

According to the Go Global San Diego initiative San Diego is the 17th largest U.S. metro city, ranks 61st in terms of export intensity and 49th in terms of foreign-owned firms (2). San Diego has not fully capitalized on its inherent intellectual and human capital skills. The resources of many of the businesses that have global potential could be put toward exportation.

According to the Go Global San Diego site they will do this through a number of broad strategies:

-Catalyze growth of advanced industries.
-Drive Innovation through Talent: strengthen the workforce of today, deepen the workforce of the future.
-Realize CaliBaja’s potential through connections with priority and emerging markets.
-Mainstream global activity as a key component of regional business retention and expansion efforts.
-Maximize infrastructure assets.

The advantages of focusing on advanced industries is that they offer an opportunity to tap into a fast growing markets that spur additional investment. They also rely on a broad base of knowledge that supports medium and small businesses in the area. Wages are likewise higher in advanced industries raising the standard of living for local employees.

To truly do this well means the area will need to develop a brand that can sell the city as both a pro-business investment mecca and as a place where the quality of living is high. Local government should seek to draw in public and private stakeholders while ensuring decisions are based on bi-partisan strategic logic that creates the most winners. No need to create fights where no benefits are to be found.

There are advantages to getting everyone on the same page that isn't found in many cities across the country. When people can formulate a shared image of a city that helps them draw their self-interest the system becomes much more efficient through thousands of small actions aligned around that image. This will require not only business to succeed but also foster skill based income growth of motivated employees. Economic development that creates win-win outcomes will find support among investors while reducing inherent risks associated with uncertainty in regulations, labor allocation, governance, and socio-political turmoil.

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