Over the years, one of the leading themes of the Intangible Economy has been the need for communities to build upon the local assets. So, I am always on the lookout for interesting examples.
One such example comes from Sparta, Greece. Petros Doukas, the Mayor of Sparta, describes what they are doing to build on local assets. They are deliberately not trying to become a “high tech” center. Instead, they are looking at areas where they have some type of existing advantage and have identified the sectors of agriculture, tourism, cultural activities, and sports. You can see his remarks describing what they are doing in each of these areas at this YouTube video starting at about minute 16:15
[FYI – This clip is part of an excellent discussion on local development as part of the Framing the Future series organized by the Global Federation of Competitiveness Councils (GFCC) (click here to see the links to previous sessions).]
Sparta is an example of the economic gardening approach to local development. And as I pointed out in an earlier posting (“A New Narrative for Rural America”, Knowledge Management as an Economic Development Strategy and “Building on Local Information Assets”), communities following this strategy adopt a “build, not buy” approach to growing local businesses.
That is not to say that efforts to create technology and innovation clusters are not important. They are. But as Mayor Doukas points out, many communities would be better off adopting a lower tech strategy. In any event, deciding which way to go starts with understanding your local assets.