Archive for the ‘USA’ Category

Anyone for Memphis or Nashville?

June 11, 2013

I was recently invited by an American friend, Dr. Stuart Rosenfeld, to think about collaboration on creative economies. Among other things, he’s a Board member of South Arts, a creative arts network covering nine states – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

I readily agreed on the proviso that any collaboration should extend to both the creative AND tourism industries because of their complementarity. There were also other timely reasons:

– Cultural tourism is the fastest growing segment of the tourism market, and has a high spend value.
– The Australian tourism market is flat, and Tourism Australia is looking for new markets. And we figured the Yanks are in the same boat.
– Qantas now has Dallas as its main US hub – a great gateway to the relatively untapped southern US market. Qantas and the US carriers surely want to drum up two-way business.
– In March, the Australian Government announced a Creative Arts Program ($235 million) AND a Precincts (Clusters) Program ($500 million for 10 precincts), with a creative arts precinct a distinct possibility.

We thus decided that the planets were in alignment. But, as always, the solution lies in finding the stakeholders with the vision and commitment to make something happen. It seems smart to think of Sydney as the Aussie precinct connected to counterparts in the USA. After all it’s the main entry point for US artists and tourists, and there are two precincts forming around University Technology Sydney, and Walsh Bay – the Rocks.

But Melbourne and other places have equally long and proud histories in the creative industries and strong international links. In any case, it’s our rural regions that appeal most to international tourists – disparate places like Bendigo, Katoomba, Broken Hill, Tamworth, Gladstone, Alice Springs, Cape York, Broome etc. The dilemma is that while the regions have cultural tourism product, much of it is under-developed and hard to get to – regional airfares outside the main trunk routes are crippling, and you’d be loathe to recommend most of our train services to international tourists.

But let’s not dwell on the negatives. We have some fascinating cultural tourism agendas that might form the basis of relationships with cities and towns in southern USA – New Orleans, Dallas, Memphis, Nashville, Houston and Miami come to mind.

We’ve fired off a discussion paper for Dr. Rosenfeld for his next Board meeting. The first hurdle is to get arts administrators thinking tourism, and tourism administrators thinking arts. The second hurdle is to get US tourism/arts administrators engaging with their Australian counterparts, and then somehow connecting their regional cousins into the agenda. The third hurdle is to market the opportunity. On this score, we’ve suggested engaging some champions once things take shape e.g. Harry Connick Jnr. (New Orleans) and Nicole Kidman & Keith Urban (Nashville).

The above scenarios are somewhat speculative, and it involves a lot of cat-herding and people looking to someone else to arrange things. If it doesn’t pan out with our American friends, we might see if there are cultural tourism links back to Italy for Griffith, Mareeba and Leichhardt, or to South Africa in the case of Perth. We’ve found a federal program to defray expenses – so please contact us if this aligns with your interests.

Contact Rod Brown, Cockatoo Network – if you would ike to collaborate in this field.

Creative Class Revisited

June 28, 2012

Richard Florida is out with his new book ‘The Rise of the Creative Class, Revisited’ reports Jeff Finkle at IEDC.

Jeff says it has been ten years since Florida’s first book on the Creative Class was published, when he spoke at IEDC’s conference. He will be joining the IEDC again in Houston this year. There is a good article on Richard Florida at

The gist is that Detroit is drawing on a long legacy of creativity and innovation that’s a part of the city’s very DNA, from the industrialist Henry Ford to the architects and designers Albert Kahn, Charles and Ray Eames, Eero Saarinen and Minoru Yamasaki.

And then there is Detroit’s incredible line of musical innovators. The blues’ John Lee Hooker moved to the city in the 1940s. The legendary jazz trumpeter Donald Byrd grew up in Detroit and of course there was Berry Gordy’s Motown, which brought such artists as Smokey Robinson, Aretha Franklin, The Supremes, The Temptations, the Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, and Michael Jackson, among many others, to national prominence. And it doesn’t end there. Detroit’s influence on rock ‘n’ roll goes back to the 1960s, with Mitch Ryder, the MC5, Iggy Pop, The Amboy Dukes, Grand Funk Railroad, Alice Cooper, Marshall Crenshaw, Glenn Frey, Bob Seeger and Kid Rock, not to mention hip hop’s Eminem, Insane Clown Posse and the late J Dilla. In recent years, the White Stripes and Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson of Detroit Electronic Music Festival fame have kept the city in the forefront of popular music.

Florida is basically proposing that Detroit can tap its creative roots as part of its adjustment away from the automotive and engineering industry. Indeed, the Chinese aren’t likely to be a threat in western music.

Houston and Norway working together

May 9, 2012

The Cockatoo Network is currently devoting considerable resources to identifying mechanisms to encourage cross-border collaboration. Here is an interesting example involving two world-class nodes. It appears that one of the triggers for the relationship was Paul “Red” Adair, a great Houstonian, who made his name in Norway by resolving the Bravo Oilwell Blowout of 1977.

The Houston Chronicle recently ran an article as follows.

Norway and Houston have long-established and strong ties. Business is, and has always been, at the heart of our relationship. More than anything else, our relations have been influenced by shipping and oil.

Houston is a global maritime and offshore oil powerhouse and Norway’s third-largest U.S. gateway for seaborne trade. Last year, 579 Norwegian ships called at Houston, representing some $760.4 million worth of seaborne trade. Many Texas-based companies, such as Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips, National Oilwell Varco, Marathon Oil and FMC Technologies, have made major investments and built up significant operations in Norway. Moreover, technology transfer from Texas was essential to the Norwegian oil industry in the 1970s. The experienced oilmen who laid the foundations of the Norwegian offshore adventure were, to a large extent, Texans.

Houston is home to the largest concentration of Norwegian energy companies outside Norway. Furthermore, about 7,000 Norwegians today live and work in the Houston region, mostly in the energy, maritime, space and medical fields, as well as in higher education and research. Some 140 Norwegian companies have a presence in Houston, creating a number of workplaces.

Collaborator Profile – Chris Gibbons (Littleton, Colorado)

April 17, 2012

Who and where are you? – I’m Chris Gibbons, Director of Business/Industry Affairs, City of Littleton, Colorado USA.

What’s your job? I am the co-creator and director of our Economic Gardening project, which is an entrepreneurial approach to economic development. I oversee a staff of three specialists: market researcher, search engine optimization and web marketing analyst and Geographic Information Systems specialist. We provide these services to businesses in Littleton to help them grow.
What’s exciting you at present? We are evaluating a number of new tools in the overlapping areas of network analysis, data mining, big data, network mapping and watering holes.
What are your top 3 tips on how to collaborate?
1. Build relationships one informal meeting at a time
2. Do start with projects or hot topics on the agenda.
3. Understand your partner’s world: outlook, constraints, objectives, culture.
What collaborative projects would interest Cockatoo readers? Littleton has a number of collaborative projects that have received national and international attention: economic gardening, the youth program established after the Columbine shootings, our immigrant integration program, our risk intervention group, our health committee.
Contact details U.S. phone no: 01 303.795.3760. We’re Mountain Time Zone.

UCLA’s smart deployment of students

March 6, 2012

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) has a really smart program – the Global Access Program (GAP) where its MBA students prepare business plans for companies aiming to crack the US market with new products.

Companies pay a modest fee, and in return they get the business plan plus the strategic thinking and ideas that underpin it.

We figure that many Australian companies must forge partnerships to crack overseas markets. We thus met recently in Sydney with UCLA reps to see how GAP can be delivered to Australian companies. We were also keen to see how it could be extended to more Australian companies.

As a separate exercise, we mulled over how UCLA might assist with our Sunrise Project (linking clusters and networks).

If YOU have companies in your midst with a likely interest, please contact us, or UCLA’s key contact in Australia, Phil Chynoweth or 0415 919191.

The Competitiveness & Innovative Capacity of the United States

February 7, 2012


Professor Roy Green (UTS, Sydney) does a great job keeping his friends updated with the latest policy papers. He has steered us to a very recent U.S. Department of Commerce document (joint with the National Economic Council) which explains the industry policy direction of the US Government. However the document is quite simplistic and uninspiring. Perhaps its target audience is middle America (with which we have no quarrel), but one might have expected it to emphasise global supply chains, bilateral deals with emerging developing economies, and a tax system more attuned to the 21st century. You be the judge – full document is on the web.

 The key points are paraphrased as follows.

 The U.S.economy reigned supreme in the 20th century – world’s largest, most productive, and most competitive. As the 21st century approached, alarms sounded – incomes stagnated and job growth slowed. Other countries became better educated and our manufacturing sector lost ground to foreign competitors.

The scientific and technological building blocks critical to our economic leadership have been eroding – elements of the U.S.economy are losing their competitive edge.

 Innovation is the key driver of competitiveness, wage and job growth, and long-term economic growth. Therefore, need to look to the past and examine the factors that helped unleash the tremendous innovative potential of the private sector. Among these factors, three pillars have been key:

 –  Federally supported research laid the groundwork for the integrated circuit and the subsequent computer industry; the Internet; and advances in chemicals, agriculture and medical science.

–  The U.S. educational system in the 20th century produced increasing numbers of high school and college graduates, more so than anywhere else in the world. They boosted innovation.

– The transformation of infrastructure in the 20th century was amazing – the country became electrified, clean water became widely available, air transport became ubiquitous, and the interstate highway system was constructed. These developments helped businesses compete by opening up markets and keeping costs low.

The need for the Federal government to play an important role in research derives from the fact that there is a divergence between the private and social returns of research activities which leads to less innovative activity in the private sector than is what is best for our country. However, government support of basic research can remedy this problem.

To improve the trajectory of American innovation, thoughtful, decisive, and targeted actions are needed i.e. sustaining the levels of federal funding for basic research, extending a tax credit for private‐sector R&D to give companies appropriate and welldesigned incentives to boost innovation, and improving the methods by which basic research is transferred from the lab into commercial products.

Education – the second pillar – is also critical to foster innovation and to increase living standards. The advances in education in the 20th century helped propel the economic rise of the United States. However, the education system has slipped – poor preparation in math and science and the high cost of college tuition and expenses are restricting the flow of American science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) graduates from our universities.

In the past, the US has led the way in several key areas of infrastructure development (the third pillar).  Today theUS is lagging behind in broadband Internet access and wireless communications.

 A crucial component of theUnited States’ future competitive strength is a flourishing manufacturing sector. Manufacturing creates high-paying jobs, provides the bulk of U.S.exports, and spurs innovation. Manufacturing’s share of GDP and the number of workers in manufacturing has fallen, while the trade balance in manufactured goods has worsened. The Federal government has historically played an important role in providing a level playing field and must do so with renewed vigour.

Increasing the competitiveness and the capacity to innovate goes beyond improving research, education, infrastructure and manufacturing. There are many other policies that ensure the private sector has the best possible environment for innovation and competitiveness – including incentives to form regional clusters, promotion of exports and access to foreign markets, the level and structure of corporate taxes, and an effective IP regime (domestically and abroad). The Federal government has an important role to play here.

The United States has a strong base on which to rise to the challenges. There are clear actions that can help this nation regain its innovative and competitive footing. To succeed, we must have the will to implement and to sustain the policies that will prepare theUnited Statesto continue to be an economic leader in the 21st century.

Blueprint Mississippi: Capitalizing on the Creative Economy

December 16, 2011

CraftNet Sketches has alerted us to a document that is very timely in view of the need for many regions to find new growth areas.

The Mississippi Economic Council has developed a collaborative vision for moving the state’s economy and community forward – known as Blueprint Mississippi 2011 it has led to goals and recommendations on education, the economy, diversity, financial resources, health, infrastructure etc.

A top focus is the creative economy.  The following creative economy strategies are based in large part on the study we completed with the Mississippi Development Authority and the Mississippi Arts Commission Development. The reports are available here and on the Mississippi Creative economy website.

The recommendations relating to the creative economy include:

  • Promotion of entrepreneurship and small business growth among creative firms.
  • Help for communities to preserve and generate added value from cultural and historic heritage.
  • Increased use of art and design in buildings.
  • Enhancement of networking infrastructure for creative talent across the state.
  • Measures to grow and retain creative talent living and working inMississippi.
  • Development of  tools and strategies to support the tourism industry.

 Involved in the creative industries? Why not plan a trip to the Deep South. Dallas is now Qantas’ main USA hub – so fly direct, hire a car and drive east a couple of hours for a coffee with David‘the Preacher’ Dodd (Louisiana) and then onto Mississippi to meet with the CraftNet folk – they are a very collaborative outfit..

 Go to

Queensland floods – can u help please?

January 13, 2011


I am shocked and saddened to see the situation in Queensland….with Brisbane flooding, it really reminds me of the devastation Hurricane Katrnia bought to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. So, I e-mailed Jeff Finkle and asked if IEDC could set up a fund for donations, and I am going to put a task force together with Katrina experience to offer advice and counsel via teleconference on the rebuilding process.

As you may know, I was the lead consultant for the Gulf Reinvestment Forum, which was the genesis of the Gulf Reinvestment Act and other rebuilding efforts. I, and the people along the Gulf Coast that I worked with, want to help by relaying our experience and expertise in a long and difficult process..hopefully, our lessons learned can help Queensland and Brisbane save some time and heartache in coming back from this tragedy.

I need to know where the funds and outreach could be best be used….EDA, ANZIA, or maybe Cockatoo?? We need to run the funds through a non-profit here, which i can set up. Also, my best friend is the father of international blues music star Kenny Wayne Shepherd…he is married to Mel Gibson’s daughter, so has a real interest in Australia (he has toured AU twice and loves it as much as I do). I’ve asked Ken if Kenny Wayne would be willing to film a Public Service Announcement to be broadcast nationally to raise funds for rebuilding.

Unfortunately, with the Tucson, AZ massacre here, the floods have received secondary status in the news….but we can help, and of course I am determined to assist the Yank’s best friend, who in my opinion has for too long gone unappreciated. The U.S has few friends left in the world, thanks in part to our own words and deeds, but Aussies are among those that have always, as a whole, been with us, from WWII to Afghanistan and beyond.
There are Aussie tourism ads running in the U.S. now, with the musical theme “there’s nothing like Australia”. I couldn’t agree more, you are our true blue friends. Please let me know the best route for us to, in turn, show our appreciation and concern.

David A. Dodd, CEcD
DADCO Consulting, Inc.
327 Colony Bend
Shreveport, LA 71115
Phone: 318-525-5559

Scientific Hubs

November 19, 2010

AUSTRALIA needs to change the way it invests in science and develop at least five national scientific hubs, each with more than 10,000 researchers, says the chief executive of the CSIRO, Megan Clark.

”Major shifts in how we do science and how we invest nationally are required if we are to remain globally relevant and attract the best and brightest to Australia,” said Dr Clark, who gave the 2010 Lowy lecture at the Lowy Institute for International Policy in Sydney on 19 November.

She said Sydney had an opportunity to develop a national precinct in information communication, and Melbourne could build on its strengths to develop one precinct in human life sciences and another in material sciences.

These ”powerhouses of innovation”, bringing together the best researchers from universities and science institutes, would require annual investments of more than $1 billion each and appropriate computing infrastructure. At present, science funding is mainly based on the excellence of individual researchers.

But Australia’s main challenges – climate change, water management and prevention of chronic disease – require multidisciplinary teams, Dr Clark said.

Scientists not only need to understand fundamental aspects of a problem, such as information about temperature, rainfall, wind patterns, ocean currents and ocean acidity, when considering climate change, they also need to understand how all these factors interconnect.

Dr Clark identified Perth as the logical site for a precinct in resource geosciences and space. Canberra could build on its expertise in plant and ecosystem science, and Brisbane on its strengths in environmental science and ecology. ”Adelaide is emerging as a centre for preventative health and nutrition,” she said.

On a world scale, the big problem will be how to do more with less as the population increases.
”Globally we face the challenges of securing our food, water and energy needs in a world of finite resources,” said Dr Clark, whose lecture is entitled Science and Australia’s Place in the World.

She said these challenges would create opportunities for Australia, as a result of its expertise in advanced minerals and energy projects, and in plant and animal science.

Australia leads the world in understanding the genetics of wheat and contributed to the recent completion of the genetic sequence of cattle.

This country also has strengths in astronomy and space science, which could lead to more advances in communication, data handling and computing, particularly if Australia wins the bid to host the gigantic Square Kilometre Array radiotelescope in Western Australia.

In other areas, such as some green technologies and water and environmental services, however, Australia has no special advantages, she said.

The nation would have to compete fiercely, particularly when low-income markets in China and India are driving ”reverse innovation”, with products such as Tata’s $2000 car and cheap, high-quality medical services.

The Cockatoo Network has been arguing for some time about the need for a concerted spatial research framework built around the competitive advantage of regions and stronger collaboration via clustering and networking techniques. We are currently working with David Dodd (DADCONSULT) and other US agencies to link clusters as a means of driving hubs and clusters as alluded to by Dr. Clark.

If you would like more information on how your region can participate, please contact us at

Source: SMH and Cockatoo resources.

The power of music (BEST PRACTICE)

September 9, 2010

The Cockatoo Network has numerous members in Canada, and one of them is Barry Critchley, Canada’s leading journo on the corporate sector, bond issues and stuff that makes your head hurt.

Well Barry has forwarded an inspirational video based around a collaborative performance from musicians in New Orleans, Santa Monica, the Netherlands, South Africa and other places. It also sums up a lot of the work that the Cockatoo Network does!

The video is especially significant in that New Orleans used to have a worldwide reputation in jazz, and Cockatoo members (notably Paquita Lamacraft) were heavily involved in the creative arts clusters there.

Since the Cockatoo Network is currently linking clusters across the world as a means of generating trade and investment opportunities, anyone in the creative arts space should be talking to our man in Louisiana, David Dodd at In any case, tell your mates about his video clip!

Addendum – Russ Fletcher (Montana) wrote: Here’s the full story of this great video and what’s it’s fostered in the years since it was filmed.