Enid, Oklahoma has set a goal to have $1 billion in total retail sales by 2025.
In 2010, we had $650 million.
Last year, we had $815 million.
This year, we are on track to exceed $850 million.
We are on our way!
As part of this effort to grow, over the last few months, several of us have been traveling to successful communities around the US to see what they are doing right and bringing those ideas home. There is one thing we saw in every community we visited that we need to emulate in Enid and throughout Oklahoma.
We need a Culture of Innovation.
Our challenge is to figure out how to create it. And how to define it. And how to recognize it when we have achieved it. Shifting a culture starts with the youngest among us. We need to encourage original thought and show them a world without limits. When our citizens propose these new thoughts and try to turn them into an enterprise, we need to have a pipeline of assistance prepared to help them turn their idea into a profitable business. And then, once they have succeeded, we need to publicly celebrate those achievements and amplify them throughout the region to inspire the next generation to be like them one day.
Economic development is shifting. In the past, it was all about chasing employers that would hire people 50 and 100 at a time. We would create programs to entice some of the biggest employers in the country to come look at our industrial parks and green spaces. Even though that is still an integral part of growing a community, the successful communities of tomorrow are figuring out how to entice 50-100 entrepreneurs to create a product or process that people will buy. They work in co-working spaces. They wear jeans to work every day. They need to be adventurous. They need to be risk takers. And they need to be Innovative.
I was in a meeting recently with Erika Lucas, the Co-Founder of the Thunder Launch Pad, Oklahoma’s only Business Accelerator. She encouraged everyone in the meeting to switch their nomenclature from referring to people as “entrepreneurs” and instead refer to them as “innovators.” That’s really what they do every day. They find something they are passionate about and find a way to monetize it using “innovation” as their true north.
We need a Culture of Innovation in our community…and Enid is working every day to make it happen.
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