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Economic Development is . . . (increasing the flow) of capital through the community and reducing its leakage.

Lather, Rinse, & Repeat

John was the defendant in a lawsuit over a business deal gone-bad.  The lawsuit involved a large sum of money and John was worried so he began plotting different strategies to help his case. About a week before the trial, he called his lawyer and said, “If I lose this case, I’ll be ruined!  I think I’ll send the judge a case of whiskey.”

His lawyer shouted, “No! The judge is a stickler on ethical behavior. At best, a dumb stunt like that would guarantee that you lose the case.  And he might hold you in contempt of court or even have you charged with attempted bribery.”

In the end, the judge decided in favor of John. Ecstatic over winning, he told his lawyer, “Thanks for the tip about the whiskey.”

Smugly, the lawyer said, “I’m sure we would have lost if you hadn’t followed my advice and gone ahead and sent it.”

“I did send it,” replied John … “I just enclosed the plaintiff’s business card instead of mine.”

While the method John used to win his lawsuit was definitely not ethical (although funny), you have to admit it was innovative.  And innovation is something that Tama County needs more of.

It was Owen Laughlin who once said “Money never starts an idea.  It is always the idea that starts the money”. You know, when you stop and think it is unfortunate that today we often think of innovation only in terms of new technologies. We fail to recognize that innovation can happen everywhere (especially within a business).

There is an urban legend—about a member of the night janitorial team for a large company that manufactured shampoo. This employee made a suggestion to an executive on the marketing team. The employee pointed out that the instructions on the back of the bottle of shampoo said—“Lather and rinse” and suggested that it should read “Lather, rinse, and repeat.” The legend has it that this little label change doubled shampoo sales.

My point is not to encourage deceptive advertising, but to point out that creative ideas can come from anyone and anywhere. Innovation is not limited to scientists, engineers, or designers.  It is a property that all humans have, and we need to start using it.

In order to break out of our current economic decline, it will require more innovation. Go back to the beginning of our country and look at how we rose to greatness – we did it by leading the world in innovation. Our country was founded on the freedoms that allowed the innovators to innovate. This is the “can do attitude” that has built our country into a great nation. Regardless of what your political leanings – we all need to realize that the real answer to our problems is not greater dependency, but letting people freely build, and innovate.

In my mind there is a clear choice: innovate or continue to stagnate. Contact our office and we can provide information on how you can get involved. Contact us at (641) 484-3108, or info@tamacountyiowa.org. Don’t forget to — lather, rinse, and REPEAT!

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