Friday, October 5, 2007

Healthcare Costs and Economic Development: A Look at Indiana

Employers and employees are struggling with the issue of how to pay for growing healthcare costs. It's an issue everywhere, BUT at the same time, the value placed on health in society is a top one for most Americans.

In some ways, the issue seems unresolvable, but many places, including leaders in Indiana are looking for better solutions. See the summary of what is happening in Indiana.

I find too many one-sided views of the healthcare cost issue. It's very political and as I see it everyone continues to talk past each other on the issue and what to do about it. One personal thought: Maybe we should spend less on a war going nowhere in Iraq and put those resources into helping people self-manage their health.

Here's the story from Indiana...

Spiraling health-care costs can drain financial resources for both companies and their employees, making some companies less competitive, but a pilot program available to north-central Indiana employers is seeking new ways to help save money by changing the way businesses and individuals view health-care choices.

WIRED Healthy Workforce is an initiative developed through Purdue University's Technical Assistance Program (TAP). The project features programs and training modules introduced over an 18-month period that, when implemented, should save money on employee health insurance programs.

"We want to help employees be better consumers of health care and to take better care of themselves," said Cindy Modlin-Adams, an adult nurse practitioner and Purdue University visiting associate professor.

The program consists of an initial assessment that identifies key opportunities for health-care cost control. The pilot program is free to one company in each of the 14 counties in the Indiana WIRED region.

Read more here.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

ED Spending Raises Some Brows in Indiana

Apparently baseball has replaced golf as the activity of choice for brokering business deals. At least that is the case for the Indiana Economic Development Foundation – the non-profit arm of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation – that spent more than $50,000 on suites and tickets to ballgames in Chicago, New York and Atlanta since its inception in early 2005.

Lesson: Be careful how you use your money!

Read more here.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Healthy Mind and Body: Your Biological Age

What is your biological age?

It is your age determined by physiology rather than chronology; factors of biological aging include changes in the physical structure of the body as well as changes in the performance of motor skills and sensory awareness.

Take the online test now.

A second site to take the test.

Religiosity and Economic Development

Here is an "out-there," but very interesting observation...

Is there a strong connection between the religiosity of a country and its level of development? The latest Pew Global Attitudes study seems to suggest there is one. It reveals there is a connection between how religious a country is and its economic status.

The survey finds a strong relationship between a country's religiosity and its economic status. In poorer nations, religion remains central to the lives of individuals, while secular perspectives are more common in richer nations.

This relationship generally is consistent across regions and countries, although there are some exceptions, including most notably the United States, which is a much more religious country than its level of prosperity would indicate. Other nations deviate from the pattern as well, including the oil-rich, predominantly Muslim -- and very religious -- kingdom of Kuwait.

Read more here.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Book Review: Beat the System: 11 Secrets to Building an Entrepreneurial Culture in a Bureaucratic World

Here is one every economic development organization can take to heart...

Does bureaucratic inertia have your business locked in a losing status quo? Are you being held back by gray suits who won't allow innovation and creativity at work? Do you want to build a business that isn't slowed down by the concrete shoes of bureaucratic indecision or stifled by unimaginative groupthink? If so, maybe it's time to beat the system!

In this insurgent guide to business success, Robert MacDonald shows professionals, business leaders, and entrepreneurs how to smash the bureaucracy that smothers the innovative, entrepreneurial spirit essential to long-term business success. Whether you own a small business, run a large corporation, or work for someone else, Beat the System provides proven, real-world advice for building an entrepreneurial culture in your entire organization, your department, or even in your individual position.

When MacDonald founded LifeUSA, people thought he was a madman for trying to compete against giant, entrenched competition in the stagnant life insurance industry. But with a willingness to challenge the status quo and question the rules of the system, he grew LifeUSA into a hugely successful player in an industry that was actually shrinking at the time. Now, he shares the eleven entrepreneurial secrets he used to defeat bigger and stronger competitors.

We live in a bureaucratic world, but fighting the status quo is a business strategy that works. Beat the System outlines a proven plan for creating a business culture that creates, innovates, and moves fast enough to overtake even the most entrenched competition. Whether you're starting a new business or simply trying to advance your career, you really can succeed wildly if you have the right weapons to storm the battlements of bureaucracy.

Nobody said it would be easy; fighting the forces of darkness never is. But with these smart, entrepreneurial strategies, total unconditional victory will be yours—but only if you play by your own rules. Beat the System is a practical, worldly guide to developing your own entrepreneurial, revolutionary spirit and building that spirit into every brick of your organization.

Source: PowerHomeBusiness

Leadership Quote: Be Who You Are!

“To wish you were someone else is to waste the person you are." -Source unknown

Arizona Makes Changes in Economic Development Effort

My firm has done a fair amount of work in Arizona. Coordination of ED effforts is important to the state's future economic development success. Alignment with a set of shared ED priorities is very important, especially priorities that encourage quality growth and help manage development to avoid outstripping the state's natural resources. Here is what AZ Gov. Janet Napolitano hopes to do.

The State of Arizona is launching a new economic development initiative to coordinate existing ones and revamping another effort in moves that Gov. Janet Napolitano said will help advance and unify current programs.

Napolitano said Thursday the new Arizona Economic Resources Organization will be a nonprofit board that acts an umbrella organization over all other economic development activity. She says AERO will coordinate those activities and set strategies for the state by providing recommendations and guidance.

Also, an existing nonprofit organization, the Arizona Global Network, is being expanded, Napolitano said. (Note: Earlier this year we did a peer review of the effort and gave it favorable marks for its progress.)

The AGN's focus is on promoting the state, recruiting new companies and establishing strategies for foreign investment.

“Our goal is to attract and grow businesses in Arizona to keep us economically strong,” Napolitano said. “We want the next Fortune 500 and high-growth companies in our state, and are committed to collaborating on diversifying and modernizing our economy.”

AERO will work with the three state universities and collaborate with the state Commerce Department, the Greater Arizona Development Authority and other entities, she said.

Napolitano's office said AGN's members includes all economic development organizations, higher education representatives, the Department of Commerce and other entities.

Source article.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Innovation Economic Development Vs. Industrial Recruitment

People at times try to make the world to operate in an either/or sense. It doesn't work. Should North Carolina pursue innovation-based economic development or industrial recruitment? The answer comes down to the kind of an economy you want to create. In most cases, the answer is both are needed. Read on what a recent NC news article has to say.

The State of North Carolina recently gave two multinational tire makers located in the state over $60 million in tax incentives to remain in production in North Carolina, albeit at much reduced employment levels at each plant. The ostensible public policy logic of the tax incentives model was explained in a 2005 public policy research study on industrial cluster analysis in Eastern North Carolina, prepared by The Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness.

As they stated, “In order to replace the jobs being lost, (as a result of plant closures) North Carolina Eastern Regional Leaders seek to attract, expand and generate new companies in growing, competitive industries.” Giving private companies financial incentives to induce them to locate in the state is a tool that is used to attract the companies.

In the past, more modest incentives, in the range of $1 million per project, could be used as an inducement to locate a facility in the state. In recent years, the incentives have bloomed into hundreds of millions of dollars per project, both in the current tax year they are given, and in deferred tax savings extending out 30 years. The State of North Carolina gave Dell Computers over $300 million in financial incentives to locate a distribution center near Winston Salem, and gave Google over $250 million to locate an internet server farm in the Piedmont of the State, purportedly in exchange for the creation of 200 jobs.

Read more here.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Singapore Leads on Doing Business

Singapore retained its ranking as the easiest place to do business in the World Bank's "Doing Business 2008" report, the fifth in an annual series.

The rankings are based on ten quantitative measures of the regulatory environment for private firms. Egypt showed the biggest improvement compared with the last survey, advancing in five of the areas covered. A business can spring to life more quickly there than in Italy.

Many of the countries making the greatest strides are in eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Ghana, Colombia, Saudi Arabia, Kenya and China are also among the top ten reformers. Congo, where it takes 155 days to get a business up and running, is the lowest ranked country in the survey.

Source: The Economist, October 6, 2007 (Paid subscription required).

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Industry Perspective: Personalized Medicine

Is your area thinking about the impacts of personalized medicine on its economic base?

Personalized medicine is a concept promoted as a new paradigm for health care delivery, with particular emphasis on more tightly linking genomics-based diagnostics and therapeutics. Previous analyses focused on the pharmaceutical market; this analysis also addresses the incentives to develop linked genomics-based diagnostics and the broader public policy implications.

Using a standard economic framework of an insurer-payer negotiating reimbursement with manufacturers of an innovative, targeted diagnostic and a companion patented therapeutic, several illustrative hypothetical scenarios are developed. The relative importance of the key economic factors is examined, including whether the reimbursement system is value or cost based, whether the therapeutic is already marketed, the strength of diagnostic intellectual property, and a current year versus longer time frame.

The results suggest that health systems reforms that promote value-based, flexible reimbursement for innovative, patent-protected diagnostic and therapeutic products are critical to create stronger economic incentives for the development of personalized medicine.

Source: Drug Information Journal. Ambler: 2007. Vol. 41, Iss. 4; pg. 501 (Paid subscription required to access this article)