As a promoter of smart entrepreneurship as a primary vehicle to making a difference, I thought it absolutely necessary for me to mention a very fascinating movement that I came across recently, a movement which is gaining some serious momentum in Michigan. It’s an association of entrepreneurs and innovators who are focused on building creative, enterprising communities, and is known as the YSG (Young, Smart, and Global) Organization.
I find it fitting to mention their efforts here regardless of where their primary activities take place (They are out in Michigan, far from where I currently reside…Arizona) because of what they stand for and more importantly because of the ever growing relevance that their message carries for our Nation in the not so distant future.
Essentially the YSG organization is a very forward thinking movement, one which is focused on revamping communities in the state of Michigan due to an outdated social an economic mindset that is pervading that region. A mindset that stems from Michigan being at one time, an economic leader due to their Auto Industry, and being a hub of innovation and opportunity throughout America in the early 20th Century…but ultimately losing focus when times were good. Innovation slid and communities became comfortable…whereby, most people in the community got in the habit of working for big organizations, becoming dependent, and thus their creativity, entrepreneurial spirit, and economic potential ceased. So…It is YSG’s intention to act as a catalyst, inspiring creativity, risk taking, and taking action in entrepreneurial endeavors amongst their population once again. One of their biggest aims is to ultimately ensure that the old ideas of entitlement and the prolonged lack of involvement within their local communities disappear.
From my point of view…it appears the YSG organization’s concerns are not just a local issue. What seems at the moment a phenomena that is occurring exclusively throughout Michigan has the potential to appear as a much broader issue, especially when a little foresight is used with an increase of scale, meaning when we look into the future and substitute national trends for international trends. This isn’t difficult to envision when future economic projections such as what I’ve listed below dominate the daily news:
* General Motors expecting to reduce its work force by 25 % in the next five years.
* AT&T will cut its payroll by 27,000.
* IBM will let go 10,000 workers.
* United Technologies will terminate 11,000 employees.
* Unisys (Burroughs /Sperry) will reduce its ranks by 10,000.
* IT outsourcing on the rise
And of course other statistics, like how in the 1980’s, twenty-five percent of middle management jobs were eliminated in the United States (Greenberg/Baron 582), or how in the 1990’s, one million managers of American corporations with salaries over $40,000 also lost their jobs (Greenberg/Baron 582), and how in total, Fortune 500 companies have eliminated 4.4 million positions since 1979 (Greenberg/Baron 627).
So…It appears YSG is combating a microcosm of what has a significant chance of occurring nationwide at some point in the future due to the loss of not only manufacturing jobs to outsourcing, but also IT jobs to outsourcing, and more dramatically, job losses due to the advancement of technology. YSG has it right…..in order to compete and flourish as we have in the past, we need to get innovative, entrepreneurial…but most importantly, we need to get smart and we need to get global.