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State Specialization, Concentration And Self Identification

State Specialization, Concentration and Self Identification

Global economics and operations are complex and competitive puzzles. Their pieces interconnect at multiple levels.

Even at the individual level, today’s complexity means everyone needs a degree of specialization. That depth applies both skills, knowledge, capability as well as perception.

Without that specialization, people have no way to stand out and succeed.

Likewise, as countries exist as composites of people, national specialization can provide a unique edge to drive the economy forward.

And, multiply the benefits to a state, its economy and its population. It can move a nation to the global front-of-mind.

National specialization helps nations connect to, differentiate from, and service more pieces of that global puzzle.

Before We Begin:

1. State specialization augments, not replaces your state’s myriad offerings.
2. Specialization can also multiply the value of governments without requiring massive costs and revenue (tax) requirements.
3. National branding only succeeds based on what a state delivers, not just on what it sells.

Mechanized Economic Puzzle

In this edition of National Opportunities through Cooperation and Co-Innovation, we’ll start with some of the initial exploratory considerations required to determine if specialization makes sense for your state.

My first suggestion for your success is the assembly of a Specialization Exploratory Team. That team may be small to begin, and should include both government and private sector individuals.

Each member should have either knowledge of or access to the sources of information required to address each consideration outlined below.

The goal is to spark your thinking about realistic opportunities for increasing your national success.

If begun as an initial exploration kept to a reasonable size group initially, you will find the process logical and executable.

The findings of a Specialization Exploratory Team of these considerations will lead to your decision whether to move forward with further inquiry and action.

You will be able to determine exactly:

  • what a specialization project would provide
  • its costs to government and businesses
  • what its priority in the state’s greater efforts should be
  • what policies must be put in place.

Bonafide state representatives with questions about these considerations and steps can contact me for clarification.

Recommended Exploratory Considerations

  • Look at your current situation:
    • Is your state already known for a specialization or concentration of a type of industry?
    • Is your state already known for a certain quality (for example, “Swiss Precision”)?
    • Did your state actively and intentionally build that reputation, or were you labeled with it by others?
      • If so, is that specialty the best one for your state?
        • Would a different specialty that your state could also execute be better for all?
  • Are there patterns in your companies – is there a concentration?
    • Do they use different names for essentially the same types of products or services?
    • Do they share a common usage but made for different applications?
    • Do they rely on specialties and resources that might be unique to your country?
    • As a group, can they be considered a specialization?
  • If your exports are primarily mining or other non-sustainable natural resources (including petroleum and natural gas), would you consider looking beyond them to a sustainable and perhaps more profitable and less volatile specialty?
  • Can you value-add services to a natural resource providing a better offering than competitors?
  • How can you use technology as an amplifier to what you already do or as a disruptor for the specialty (for example, advanced eCommerce, inter-company collaboration tools, and so on).
  • Can advanced technologies like artificial intelligence be available or appropriate for you?
  • What data can assist you from internal or external sources?
  • How can you improve a product or service that you provide to make it global-worthy rather than just regional?
  • How can you incentivize disparate companies to act as a co-op or team to build the specialization (for example, tax incentives, regulatory, and so on).
  • How can you involve other types of companies to profitably support the specialization?
  • How can you create an entrepreneurial community to support new companies within your specialty?
  • How can you team up with other states cooperatively to trade and help your specialty?
    • In trading, would you consider working with agreed upon “credits” instead of cash to reduce currency volatility risk?
  • If a specialty can generate intellectual property, can you license that to protect you and allows you to multiply your abilities to scale?
    • With fair allocation of intellectual property income, can you negotiate with a company owner to share the patent with others in your group for national and scaled benefit?
  • When looking at potential markets (market research), look beyond nations — can you find ways to localize your offerings by understanding other sub-markets better?
  • How can you sell your products and services — can you use digital marketing, social media, or unified web-based offering?
  • How can you balance your culture and traditions with new innovations?
  • How can your resources and people support this specialization endeavor?
    • Can you build any infrastructure required to do it?
      • With the unsatisfactory outcomes of many public/private partnerships, a co-op arrangement may be more successful.
    • How can you gather the people and other resources to make the endeavor work?
    • How can you work together on research, design and development, production, storage, shipping, service, and so on?
    • How can you create the incentive and drive to execute this endeavor?
      • Can you instill the dedication and wherewithal within all those required to sustain the endeavor?

Recommended Steps

If the Specialization Exploratory Team recommends moving forward:

  • Following your initial discovery, create a report and proposal.
  • Begin involving those who would be involved.
  • Get as much feedback as possible.
  • Expect push-back and the usual chaos of large, new ideas.
  • There will be naysayers and passive aggressive responses initially. This is to be expected.
  • Brainstorm on possibilities and issues.
  • Create your initial action plan.
  • Expand your initial Exploratory Team to create an efficient, lightweight organization to move forward.
  • Start with something reasonable and achievable. Small wins at the start are important.
  • Support and use research and development to continue to improve, grow and succeed.

These are very simplified steps, and there are others. The key is simply getting started.

Bonafide state representatives with questions about these considerations can contact me for clarification.

[Note: If you’d like to learn more about specialization for professionals, you may view my TEDxNASA presentation here.]
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