What I’m Reading on Creativity, Civil Society, and Local Economic Development

  • Creative Aerobics is co-authored by Penn State Behrend Professor Dr. Arpan Yagnik. As a field of Academic Research, researchers are interested in a methodology that can teach creativity. As a society, the more we can understand the creative process at the level of the individual or the firm, the more fluidly we can adopt social change. The book is a fun read about supporting creativity in the context of marketing and advertising.
  • The Death of a Once Great City explores how gentrification is eroding the culture and equality that made America’s major metros great.
  • What Motivates People to Participate in Civil Society? I’ve been interested in Civil Society as a bulwark against wealth inequality. Stanford recently released a series of articles about Civil Society. The nonprofit sector across the United States must operate more efficiently and with better transparency in order to earn back the trust of their local communities.
  • Why are Managers Throwing Away Their Best Innovation? At the firm level, we must decrease the risk associated with commercializing advanced innovation. Incrementalism pervades society. The innovator typically is one of the few who have the courage to embark on the arduous journey of commercializing a radical innovation. Social structures should change to better accommodate radical innovation.
  • Musings on the Meaning of Democratic Socialism. Matt Bruenig is a leader in the Democratic Socialist movement. Here he outlines what is meant by Democratic Socialism and its differences from Totalitarian Socialism that brutally oppressed Eurasia for centuries. Some of the major planks of Democratic Socialism are universal healthcare and sovereign wealth funds. Bruenig views democratic socialism as an incremental social movement: “Thus it is a fairly straightforward democratic socialist strategy as it moves the ball on social ownership through incremental reforms that could win popular democratic support.”
  • The Economy Needs Ecosystem Builders As more economic production moves in a bottom-up manner that originates from the local, local civil society must resource backbone organizations that nurture diversity and inclusion, but also can support firms looking to compete in a global economy.
  • Sprout Fund Field Guide The Sprout Fund was a transformative initiative in Pittsburgh that recently retired its operations. The organization published their lessons learned in the form of a Field Guide.
  • Startup Communities Much of Brad Feld’s writing on startup ecosystems still ring true today. Authenticity and community are key to providing the intangible areas of support such as density of connections and an openness to new ideas. I push back on Feld’s perspective related to capital. Rural communities across the U.S. face severe capital shortages. These entrepreneurs face a competitive disadvantage when competing against firms in major metros who can raise 3x-4x the amount of risk capital to scale-up.

What I’m Listening to via Spotify

What Moves / Shows I’m Watching via IMDB

  • Interstellar One of my favorite movies. My Father and I used to talk about ‘popular’ physics. Definitely not intelligent enough to be scientists, but we would enjoy talking about the ‘forces’ of physics, relativity and particle physics, and what the future of space travel might hold. Interstellar depicts that sense of wonder and opportunity.
  • A Quiet Place Perfect ending.
  • Succession This T.V. series captures so well the changing business logics of the older generations vs. that of the younger generations. Nowadays, speed to market is more important that graduate growth.
  • Mudbound An important work that speaks to America’s long history of racial injustice set during WWII.