Friday, May 23, 2008

Follow up on 2008 National Summit on American Competitiveness


The National Summit on American Competitiveness (view webcast here) was held in Chicago yesterday at the beautiful Fairmont Hotel. The Summit provided a chance to explore new ways to help America succeed in the 21st century. The global marketplace played a big role in the overall discussions. A recap is as follows.

Panel 1
: Deborah Wince-Smith, Michael Porter, Maria Bartiromo, Craig Barrett, Louis Gerstner and W. James McNerney, Jr.

Maria Bartiroma, Anchor and Editor, CNBC

Craig R. Barrett, Chairman of the Board, Intel Corporation

Louis Gerstner, Retired Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, IBM

W. James McNerney, Jr., Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Boeing Company

Deborah Wince-Smith, President, Council on Competitiveness
Panel 2: Beth Williams, Steven Odland, James Phillips, Carl Schramm, Steven Chen, John Koten and Sandy Baruah, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development

Carl J. Schramm, President and Chief Executive Officer, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

Steven Chen, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer, YouTube

John Koten, Chief Executive Officer, Mansueto Ventures LLC, Editor-in-Chief, Inc. and Fast Company

Steven Odland, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Office Depot

James M. Phillips (old bio), Managing Partner, Pinnacle Investments, LLC

Beth Williams, President & Chief Executive Officer, Roxbury Technology Corporation

Panel 3
John Engler, President and Chief Executive Officer National Association of Manufacturers

Rick Goings, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Tupperware Brands Corporation

Robert W. Lane, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Deere & Company

James Owens, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Caterpillar

Matthew Slaughter, Professor of International Economics, Dartmouth College

Panel 4

Henry Paulson, Jr., U.S. Secretary of the Treasury

Haley Barbour, Governor, State of Mississipi

Richard M. Daley, Mayor, City of Chicago

Mark Drabenstott, Director, RUPRI Center for Regional Competitiveness, University of Missouri-Columbia

Janet Napolitano, Governor, State of Arizona

Mark Sanford, Governor, State of South Carolina

My notes from this extraordinary event (missed Panel 4):

• America continues to lead the world.
• Get into the global game.
• In the United States, you are: Free to compete. Free to innovate. Free to start a business. Free to fail and start again.
• How to remain competitive.
• We must frame our thoughts around three vital components that make America strong: 1. Trade barriers (lowering them). 2. Entrepreneurship. 3. Learning (lifelong).
• Businesses less than five years old create more than 1/2 of our jobs in our country.
• Free enterprises grow and fail.
• Accessibility of markets worldwide, make it easy to go global.
• Our exports are up from 12 percent to 18 percent for the same period last year.
• Exports create jobs.
• Free trade agreements generate preferential access to markets -- good thing.
• The world economy is growing at the fastest pace ever.
• Economic strength is at the heart of our democracy.
• Economic growth and economic competitiveness is key to our country's success.
• Education is important.
• We have the strongest innovation system on the face of the earth.
• Human resources is a challenge for us. Education is a challenge for us.
• Be open to competition. Tackle challenges!
• We are becoming a nation of ignorant people. We have a terrible education problem.
• We must give an incentive (compensation plus more) for teachers wanting to teach and to become teachers of excellence.
• Whenever we see it, we must take on the status quo. Go for it.
• It's not about Johnny (or Jane I might add) can't read; it's about whether America can succeed.
• We must learn skills.
• On our innovative activity, we must stay focused.
• We are selling advanced services, that's what the United States is doing.
• On the question of what country are you the most worried about (thinking it would be China or India, for example), one panelist answered: United States.
• We must implement a national skills strategy.
• We are the most dynamic entrepreneurial economy in the world.
• Immigration is the first sure-fire sign of entrepreneurship in our country; dealing with the unknown; making a way.
• There is a predominant nature for entrepreneurs to use credit cards to finance a business.
• Most of the brightest ideas take place during the 18-24 age bracket (don't necessarily agree!).
• We must "make a difference, not just a profit" with our businesses (totally agree!).
• We must encourage more of the entrepreneurial spirit at all levels ... from peer to peer to family members to strangers.
• The Internet creates more awareness (good marketing vehicle).
• It's really a ... "Celebration about possibilities!" -- Steven Odland, Office Depot.
• We have a new wave of entrepreneurs spanning across all ages.
• Final note: "Take a chance!"

The luncheon included award recipient Michael Porter and Chicago's Mayor Daley gave a powerful keynote address. The reception was hosted by The Illinois Coalition for Jobs, Growth and Prosperity.

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