Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Becoming "Faster"

Fast Company magazine recently released its annual list of "Fast Cities," a listing of the world's leading cities in terms of creativity, innovation, forward-thinking and other "it" factors that separate the Portlands and Austins of the world from the rest of the pack.

The article on Seattle, this year's "City of the Year," included this interesting quote:
The creative people who have transplanted to Seattle have sought out this place for a reason. Wherever they came from, they left because that place was stuck in tradition. And these people, these innovators, are not happy with that. They want to turn that idea of tradition on its head.
That's pretty amazing; I wish we had more of that spirit here.

In 2007, the magazine named St. Louis as one of its five "Slow Cities," along with Budapest, New Orleans, Detroit and Havana, describing our fair city thusly:
Too normal for its own good. It ranks dead last on CityVitals' "Weirdness Index," a measure of passion and engagement.
In 2008, Kansas City was listed as a "City on the Verge"
A $9 billion redevelopment is restoring downtown KC's shine with the new Sprint Center and Steven Holl's glorious expansion of the Nelson-Atkins Museum. This Missouri city also anchors a new animal-health corridor -- a bovine Silicon Valley -- that's home to more than 120 bioscience firms. The hope is that this old cow town's new spin will boost job growth and keep young people from seeking greener pastures.
What can we do to make downtown - and the St. Louis region - "faster?"


Adam Flath said...

One thing that I loved about Seattle is all the PUBLIC works of ART downtown and its neighborhoods. If I remember correctly, all new construction has to donate a small percentage of the total cost of the building/project (1% or less) to fund public art/art programs.

I am liking what I have seen with the new Post Office plaza and the sculpture park soon to open. I definitely would call these two new areas "weird" in a good way. Have to start somewhere.

Jordan said...

In the past month I have visited L.A, Chicago, and this past weekend New York City. I realized, I think all of us who complain about St.Louis to be better and wanting to be more progressive, We should just move to one of those 3 cities. LA was the least of my favorite but Chicago and NY. Amazing. Its like everything you would want in a city. Public Transportation..Beautiful buildings, endless things to eat and do.

samizdat said...

Um, I think replacing nearly all of the political "leadership" at the local and state level would be a good start. Hey, it's a start.

cbroom7231 said...

The first three steps were comments written by — Chris Grus on the STLtoday website on the “St. Louis: Not so ‘Fast.’ How do we get faster?”
1. Stop asking people where people went to High School!
2. Stop whining about St. Louis.
3. Merge St. Louis City & County

Chris is correct we all need to stop living in the past around here. The past is something to be learned from not lived in, hence the “where did you go to High School” question. In addition these steps need to be incorporated.

4. Stop allowing your employees to belittle and effectively exclude the more talented and innovative workers.
5. Actually physically practice inclusion in the everyday actions of your work teams and groups.
6. Stop the cycles of “group think” in your organizations by excusing it in the name of being a cooperative team player.

Work force Diversity is more than just the visual, male or female and goes beyond a person’s ethnicity. True Diversity is all of the for-mentioned differences plus the tolerance and acceptance of others when they think differently.

Verbally stating your company practices diversity and having it written in some corporate policy really means nothing if the actions of “any” employee counter these statements by actions of exclusion and is tolerated in the form of managements silence at any level.

In many ST. Louis companies showing your innovativeness and intelligence incites fearful threatening feelings in coworkers (including the direct Mgr) that you might out shine there work efforts. This incites jealousy, anger and fear in some coworkers that you might by picked over them in the event of a layoff or picked for a promotion. It is as if everyone in this town plays its own brand of the TV Program Game Show “Survivor” in the work place. If you show you’re inventively bright you will be excluded, sabotaged and effectively pushed out of the organization. A counter tactic performed by those coworkers who feel inadequate, to discredit your efforts in an attempt to progress their own political agenda of climbing the corporate latter. We have all seen these people motivated by their own political agenda, always “looking” busy when the boss is around and bring gifts to management in an effort to gain favor.

Unless we all collective work together to change this collective consensus tolerance (and quite honestly High School like behavior) through our own actions and reactions to such behavior we will continue to watch the good jobs go to other cities and countries.

I am reposting this info because the consequences of us not changing our behavior as a working community are tremendous. We need to create working environments were innovation and change are welcomed, not shunned ridiculed and driven away.

Piazza Armerina said...

I disagree. I don't care how talented or innovative you are, nobody likes a blow-your-own-horn individualistic know-it-all, or someone who *thinks* they know it all.

There are many different ways to perceive something. What you onsider to be ingenious is your *own* opinion.

Honestly, if people cannot work together properly, I could care less how much better you are than those "high school buddies" you complain about. At least the HS buddles develop a long-term trust with one another.

When you get into a company, develop a network and mentors. It takes time, ALOT OF TIME. All you people who have been working for a few short years, YOU HAVE NO CLUE (most of the time) how it REALLY works.

Keep you mouth shut, do what you're told, BE CONSISTENT and DEPENDABLE, develop power and trust, build consensus, and I GUARANTEE you will get what you want EVENTUALLY.

I might seem conservative, but I'm a radical who learned the hard way. Now I'm thriving, but only after giving up on the immature definition of innovation, and then exchanging it for high-level updated organizational behavior and management principles.

Now, I work at the top. I am not innovative, I DRIVE innovation. And the youngins do the grunt work for me, in the name of innovation - they're just too young to see the BIG PICTURE.