REI has scheduled a REALNEO orientation session from 2 - 4 PM

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Mon, 12/13/2004 - 16:03.
12/14/2004 - 09:00

REI has scheduled a REALNEO orientation session from 2 - 4 PM for
anyone interested in becoming more familiar with our Regional Economy
Action Links for North East Ohio. We'll walk through basic site
administration, like setting up a user account and adding content, and
setting up a Drupal site from scratch. We'll discuss how to best use
this transformational technology to transform the NEO economy. This is
of course free and open to the public - when you sign in with the
security desk at the PBL building (the Gehry) the guard will tell you
how to find the session... room 401


REI - PBL 401 - 11119 Bellflower Rd.

12/14/04 - Sustainable Transportation: An Important Driver of Economic Development

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Mon, 12/13/2004 - 15:42.
12/14/2004 - 11:00

Topic for
tomorrow, December 14th: "Sustainable Transportation: An Important Driver of Economic Development"

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path="m@4@5l@4@11@9@11@9@5xe" filled="f" stroked="f">



Civic entrepreneur Herb Crowther, and representatives and
entrepreneurs from private companies, port authorities and other transportation
oriented economic development organizations come together during a 90
minute interactive discussion about freight-related sustainable
transportation opportunities. Shifting freight transport to rail and water can
improve freight mobility and reduce transportation costs while using cleaner
transportation modes. The purpose of the conversation is to raise the
community's consciousness of how much activity related to sustainable
transportation and freight mobility is already going on in Northeast Ohio, and
brainstorm strategies for leveraging collaboration and integrating
transportation initiatives to drive job creation and economic development.


Peter B. Lewis Building, Room 401

Who Funds a "Free" Preschool Program?

Submitted by RWaxman-Lenz on Sun, 12/12/2004 - 17:38.

Suppose you wanted to expand the reach of preschool to low-income families not able to pay for these benefits. To whom would you turn? A recent article in the Washington Post tells of the Freddie Mac Foundation providing a $450,000 grant for a free preschool program in Alexandria, Virginia. The program, Child and Family Network Centers, enrolls over 170 children whose families earn too much to qualify for Head Start, but not enough to pay for a private preschool. The founder of this program, Barbara Mason, states, "I think every city's going to need a program like ours because there are always going to be kids that fall through the cracks." She started the center twenty years ago in response to the large discrepancy she saw between "the kids coming out of the projects and their middle-class peers." The $2.3 million budget of the center comes from three sources: one-third is from city, state, and federal funds, one-third from foundations, and one-third from fund raising.Â

University Circle as a hub for Creative Industries

Submitted by Ed Morrison on Sun, 12/12/2004 - 11:56.

We have a remarkable opportunity to begin weaving together University Circle as a hub in our network of creative industries in NEO. Yesterday, I provided development officers at University Circle, Inc. an insight on how we can begin. You can download the presentation.

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12.07.04 NOTES: Tuesday@REI; Competition Based On Innovation Creating Unique Value

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Tue, 12/07/2004 - 16:47.

Chuck is an attorney focused on anti-trust, and it is his interest in that
which drove him to write and edit this book, featuring five chapters by Porter.

Imagine it is 1895 and there are no automobiles - just horse and buggies.
Chuck sees life here like that, and that "unique value economics"
offers unique new opportunity here now.

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Learning from Baltimore's Education Project

Submitted by RWaxman-Lenz on Tue, 12/07/2004 - 12:35.

"Strong Schools = Strong Communities" emphasized a workshop held at the Enterprise Foundation Annual Network Conference in October. Lessons learned from the Baltimore Education Project are relevant to education issues faced in Cleveland. "Intervene with the youngest ages possible," urge the practitioners of this initiative. "Because standardized testing usually begins in the very early years of formal public education..., it is important to equip students with the skills, tools, attitudes, and behaviors that will make them successful at learning before they arrive in First Grade." The list of lessons also speaks to a long-term approach and establishing formal partnerships among community stakeholders.  To learn more about the Baltimore Education Initiative process, click here.

REALNEO Orientation at Case Weatherhead School - Peter B. Lewis Building (Gehry)

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Mon, 12/06/2004 - 17:22.
12/07/2004 - 09:00

REI has scheduled a REALNEO orientation session from 2 - 4 PM for anyone interested in becoming more familiar with our Regional Economy Action Links for North East Ohio. We'll walk through basic site administration, like setting up a user account and adding content, and setting up a Drupal site from scratch. We'll discuss how to best use this transformational technology to transform the NEO economy. This is of course free and open to the public - when you sign in with the security desk at the PBL building (the Gehry) the guard will tell you how to find the session... room 401

Immediately following is Tuesday@REI: "Unique
Value: Cleveland & Northeast Ohio,"

Guest Moderator Charles D. Weller, Cleveland Author, Lawyer
and Health Care Entrepreneur. Chuck is Editor and Contributor of the new book
(Released 12/04) "Unique Value:
Competition Based On Innovation Creating Unique

Any questions, please email norm [at] icearth [dot] com


Case, Weatherhead, Peter B. Lewis Building Room 401

12.07.04 - Tuesday@REI Competition Based On Innovation Creating Unique Value

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Mon, 12/06/2004 - 16:27.
12/07/2004 - 15:00

platform for civic engagement and collaboration

12.7.04 "Unique
Value: Cleveland & Northeast Ohio,"
Guest Moderator Charles D. Weller, Cleveland Author, Lawyer
and Health Care Entrepreneur. Chuck is Editor and Contributor of the new book
(to be released 12/04) "Unique Value:
Competition Based On Innovation Creating Unique

Antitrust, the Economy, Healthcare, Education and Beyond"
with chapters by
Michael Porter, Peter Staudhammer and Scott Stern.


Case, Weatherhead, Peter B. Lewis Building - Room 401
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Innovation and Disruption Still Going Hand in Hand

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Mon, 12/06/2004 - 09:42.

The NYTimes has an interesting article on disruptive technology and the new economy - good advance reading for the December 7 Tuesday@REI session "Unique Value: Competition based on Innovation Creating Unique Value".

The 12/6/04 NYTimes article concludes:

Competition has been a spur to innovation, driving companies to find
ways to do things better or cheaper, to gain new markets and reap
higher profits. But competition can also diminish the incentives to
develop new technologies if, as happened with many dot-com initiatives,
innovations are easily replicated by rivals.

"Today, with a
much more competitive and deregulated environment there are very few
companies with the kind of financial cushion to take the 10-to-15-year
long-term view," said Mr. Slywotzky of Mercer Management. "Those
engines of innovation have shut down."

Read the entire article linked here.

ECHO stands for East Cleveland Homes Online - working to bridge the community's digital divide

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Mon, 12/06/2004 - 09:05.

ECHO is a Northeast Ohio region-wide initiative to support the leaders, residents and enterprises of East Cleveland who are proactively working to bridge the community's digital divide - ECHO stands for East Cleveland Homes Online. Representatives of the University Collaboration are driving this initiative, with prominent leadership from Case and Cleveland State. These efforts are supported by the Mayor of East Cleveland, and will help him reinvent the great community he serves.

ECHO will bridge East Cleveland's digital divide by compiling donated computers and distributing them and open source software and wifi Internet access and communications devices to insure each household, business and organization in East Cleveland has a computer with Internet access and optimal software and information services. The Intention is for computers and Internet access, training, education and support services to be made affordable for everyone living and working in East Cleveland, so life there is bettered by enhanced Internet and information technology, including Voice over Internet Protocol, social networking, eLearning, eMedicine, eCommerce and eGovernment. As East Clevelanders become experienced using these new economy tools and services, they will become more powerful forces in the local and regional economy, making NEO a stronger and better community for all.

Posted below are timely articles on technical, social and political developments related to deployment of such "socialized" information services via ECHO. The computer donation, processing and distribution initiative will be described in a different document - this write-up addresses providing Internet access. ECHO will deploy WiFi (Wireless Fidelity) as the core technology for Internet access with a "mesh", which you can visualize like a safety net. Also posted here are articles on alternative access technologies: Powerline Carrier, enabling communications via the power transmission infrastructure already interconnecting everything in East Cleveland, and WiMAX, which uses microwave to bring high bandwidth communications to target locations. Technology needed for ECHO is available in the marketplace and is reliable, cost effective, and getting better daily.

Adding a WiFi router to a cable or DSL Internet access modem (or Powerline or WiMAX access device) allows the wireless transmission of the Internet signal to and from WiFi ready computers within range of the signal, allowing many computers to access a single Internet connection. Range is determined by the WiFi technologies employed ("b", "g" or emerging "n"), and may be enhanced by optimal placement of antennas, amplifiers, and repeaters and diminished by physical obstructions, distance, and other interference. While the least expensive WiFi routers and other devices are "b", the extended range of "g" and "n" may justify using those broader range technologies for the benefit of providing service to more households per access point. It is also possible to add repeaters and amplifiers that extend range further. The deployment schema of these technologies determines the scope of the signal of each access point on the mesh. The objective is to distribute a combination of these technologies so all Internet access areas overlap, forming a mesh providing complete coverage throughout the city.

The greatest technical challenge is determining how loose a mesh is possible - how great a distance may be configured between hard-wire access points. Physical DSL, cable or other Internet access points must be contracted for homes, businesses, churches, schools and other structures distributed throughout the community - the WiFi mesh will radiate from those points. For initial modeling purposes, we'll estimate 1,000 physical Internet access connections must be contracted, for interconnecting all the WiFi technologies needed to provide coverage for 11,000 households in East Cleveland.

Computers in structures with direct access points may connect to the Internet via Ethernet. Unwired computers access the mesh and so wireless Internet by using WiFi cards/devices. By leveraging Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), people may also use WiFi capable telephones and computers for telephone communications throughout the internetworked community and via the Internet world-wide. Costs for computer WiFi cards have become quite low - a "b" card costs under $20 retail - bulk wholesale purchases could drive that cost to around $10. "g" and "n" cards cost somewhat more. The "g" and "n" cards and routers are backwards compatible to connect with "b" devices so a combination of all these WiFi standards will be used, as is most cost effective.

To complete a cost analysis, we must determine the availability of DSL and Cable Internet access in East Cleveland. Areas where households are physically isolated or where there is not any broadband service available will be the most costly and difficult to include in the mesh - perhaps requiring WiMAX and higher strength WiFi deployments. A map must be developed of all addresses in East Cleveland needing Internet access, on which we'll overlay available Internet service options and the optimal mesh of technology solutions. This is not an especially difficult challenge - the data should all be available.

It must still be determine what level of broadband is available in East Cleveland via existing DSL service providers and via cable Internet access. Where available, monthly charges quoted by SBC for DSL in Northeast Ohio range from a minimum of $19.95, if bundled with other SBC telecommunications services (like long distance phone), to an unbundled $29.95, if signing a one year contract. To receive SBC DSL, customers must also subscribe to their POTS - Plain Old Telephone Service - which costs a minimum of $12.67, for those eligible for SBC's low-income "lifeline" program, meaning monthly DSL related access costs/customer total a minimum of $42.62. If available in East Cleveland, cable internet access typically costs around $49/month, after any trial period discounts offered by carriers. With a one year contract, DSL and cable service providers typically provide a DSL or Cable modem at no additional cost - carriers may charge for installation and equipment shipping. These figures are estimates and all this information will be validated by contacting all carriers servicing East Cleveland. Further, pricing may be reduced through strategic planning and negotiation for service in bulk contracts.

For initial modeling purposes, project up-front cost of $50/modem and recurring cost of $20/access point/month X 1,000 access points = $50,000 up front and $20,000 per month for all of East Cleveland. In addition, there will be an up-front cost for the hardware to configure the WiFi transmission mesh for the 10,000 wireless access households projected in this model for East Cleveland - estimate 1,000 routers, at $50/router, and 1,000 amplifiers/repeaters, at $50 each - totaling $100,000 in additional up front hardware costs. The 1,000 households with cable or DSL modems will be able to access the Internet using ethernet, and ethernet cards are preinstalled in enough computers to assume that will not add any costs. The computers accessing the Internet mesh via WiFi will need WiFi cards, which will be estimated at $20/card, adding $200,000 to the up front hardware costs for 10,000 households. Thus, the up-front hardware cost to interconnect 11,000 households will be around $350,000 - about $32/household. Monthly access service costs will then be around $20,000 for the community of 11,000 households, being under $2/month/household. Even if costs are twice those estimated here, they are quite affordable - most households can afford $2-4/month for high speed Internet access, especially as that also enables VoIP (to optimize this capability, some computers may need headsets, which are available for under $10/headset). Households in East Cleveland already contracting for broadband Internet service will be able to participate in this mesh pricing model, allowing those residents to save or be compensated $30-40/month.

While $350,000 may seem like a lot of up-front money to spend in this community, it provides Internet access to 11,000 households and thus comes to around $32/household, which should be a manageable one-time expense for most households. If some East Cleveland households can't afford that cost up front, there should be a way to finance that over a year, as each household can afford $3-4/month for hardware, on top of $2-3/month for access. It is reasonable to project the entire mesh, with financed access hardware and recurring monthly service, is thus viable for less than $10/household/month. Consider, this distributed mesh cost is about 50% the minimum cost for any of these households to contract just local POTS - Plain Old Telephone Service - and 10 - 20% of what it would cost them for either cable or DSL Internet service, if they qualify. As a strategic planning option, each household could be expected to pay $10/month, which would generate $110,000 per month community wide, totaling $1,320,000/year, which would generate around $500,000 for other development and support costs and cover any losses from non-payments, customer hardships, stolen equipment and such.

To make the process as cost-efficient as possible, a not-for-profit organization should be used to deploy the mesh and enabling hardware and support services, as that may accept donated hardware and services - every device donated and service volunteered represents dollars saved from the costs to the people of the community. This 501c3 should be able to contract advantageous Internet access pricing for the entire community as an umbrella service contract, and should be able to acquire all hardware and contract services in bulk buying agreements for everyone, while negotiating every other advantage possible for a charitable organization. Options to pursue are grants, gifts and charitable donations, and collaborative relationships with schools, government, and other charitable organizations.

It is important to realize the mesh will serve East Cleveland businesses, government, and other organizations as well, making all of them more effective. As an example of the value of that, the Director of East Cleveland's largest employer, Huron Hospital, apparently wanted to initiate a buy-in-East Cleveland program but found few East Cleveland businesses are available on-line, so it is functionally impossible for a sophisticated enterprise to buy local. But as local businesses and residents move into the New Economy, it is a minor task to develop directories of their services, and enable eCommerce capabilities. Thus, local businesses and organizations like Huron Hospital can better serve their community, as is their desire. And all other East Cleveland residents will become more employable and be better served by their local business community, and East Cleveland will be a better place to base a business.

Huron Hospital and other service providers will be able to provide better service to an interconnected community. East Cleveland government and schools will be able to better serve their community. Organizations, businesses, and individuals within and outside East Cleveland will be better able to serve East Cleveland residents, and residents will be better prepared to serve their community and the entire region in every way imaginable. All the great benefits will become clearer each day East Cleveland is undivided.

The only obstacles to making this happen would be obstruction by businesses that hope to sell competing information technology and services in East Cleveland. But, as the preponderance of good to come from ECHO far eclipses the self-interests of any businesses hoping to profit off the struggling residents and small businesses of this community, it is safe to assume no socially responsible businesses will obstruct this transformative initiative.

Some related links:


Outsourcing creativity

Submitted by Ed Morrison on Sat, 12/04/2004 - 12:01.

One NEO software executive commented last spring at a NEOSA event: We have a tendency to over-estimate the short term effects of outsourcing and to under-estimate its long term implications.

He appears to be right. Forget about outsourcing call centers. Fast Company points us to the real competition ahead: creativity and innovation. "As new funding fuels innovation, Silicon Valley insiders see India and China ultimately eclipsing America as technology markets -- with local companies dominating." Read more.

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REI initiatives

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Fri, 12/03/2004 - 13:53.


REI@Weatherhead integrates
high quality economic research and analytic tools to understand
and accelerate regional economic development.

REI@Weatherhead operates as part of a network of
university-based economic development centers in Northeast Ohio.
Each of these centers has its own particular strengths. Together,
we form an important support network to civic entrepreneurs who
want to make change.



- Benjamin
R. Stinner, 1954 - 2004

holder of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation-endowed chair in ecological management in
Ohio State University's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental

Civic Entrepreneur:
Ben, OSU colleagues and regional
partners began exploring the application of open source economic development
methods and tools to accelerate regional agricultural development a few months
ago. How will Ben's legacy be carried forward, and by

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Immigration as an economic development strategy

Submitted by Ed Morrison on Fri, 12/03/2004 - 05:54.

One thing is for sure: the topic of immigration policy will be heating up in 2005. The reason: high end labor shortages. jeffbuster [at] sbcglobal [dot] net passed along an article from Newsweek that underscores the point. Our research and technology base depends deeply on foreign scientists. Read more

Even worse, we are drying up this source of talent with a cumbersome, ill-advised immigration policy. As the Newsweek article points out: We are facing "a dramatic decline of foreign students in the U.S.—the first shift downward in 30 years".

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Emerging regional approaches to economic development

Submitted by Ed Morrison on Fri, 12/03/2004 - 05:04.

Regional approaches to economic development are popping up all over the place. Earlier this week, the governors of New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania got together to end the recruiting wars that have been going on among those three states.

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Working with Mt. Zion

Submitted by Ed Morrison on Thu, 12/02/2004 - 21:55.

Earlier this week, a group of us from REI met with the leadership of Mt. Zion, one of the churches located in University Circle. We conduced a fast-paced Appreciative Inquiry into one aspect of the church's seven-fold mission. The church aspires to be community-oriented, but what does that mean?

Using skills taught at the Weatherhead School in Appreciative Inquiry, we explored the different dimensions of spirituality and action that gives this church remarkable life. In a short time, we forged a strong friendships between REI and the church leadership, since we see deep overlaps in our outlooks and aspirations. A remarkable evening.

An energy is bubbling just below the surface of University Circle. In the months and years ahead, we will see remarkable new partnerships forming. We have invited the leadership of Mt. Zion to share their visions for the future of University Circle with us during an upcoming Tuesdays@REi.

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Massachusetts releases report on its innovation economy

Submitted by Ed Morrison on Thu, 12/02/2004 - 21:40.

For a number of years, Massachusetts has led the nation in producing an innovation index report. This week, the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative released its latest report. You can read more about the report. You can also download a copy.

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Childcare Center Consultations Strengthen NEO Community

Submitted by RWaxman-Lenz on Wed, 12/01/2004 - 16:57.

I had the chance yesterday to meet with the Hanna Perkins Center director, Tom Barrett, and several staff members of the Shaker Heights facility. This is one of several institutions strengthening the fabric of our community. The Center includes four integrated branches: a therapeutic preschool with programming for children from toddlerhood through kindergarten, a psychotherapy clinic, a research center, and a training program for early childhood educators and care givers. It’s exciting to talk with these professionals who seek to utilize their knowledge to reach a broad base of our region’s children with programs that show such a depth of understanding for how children develop.

Thanks to CoolCleveland for the mention - please know this is everyone's site

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Wed, 12/01/2004 - 12:08.

CoolCleveland mentioned REALNEO in their 12/1/04 issue, and that is appreciated. As a driver behind this effort, I appreciate anything that creates awareness of this virtual community - please know it is not "my site" or owned by anyone - it is provided freely to everyone in the region interested in enhancing our value of economic development and entrepreneurship... everyone in the world is welcome to visit, register and add content.

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11/30/04 - NOTES: Tuesday@REI Wind Power Industry planning

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Tue, 11/30/2004 - 16:48.

Jeff gives overview of history of wind power in NEO and of
his effort to reestablish this here


Then he gets into the needs to make this happen. He
stresses need for open model – open communications – to move our efforts
forward. Mentioned Wind Power conference and that no email addresses were
provided for attendees and presenters – old model. New model is open meetings
like at REI and the vision of social networks and analysis.

You are invited to a REALNEO orientation session at Case/REI

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Mon, 11/29/2004 - 17:40.

 If you haven't been to REALNEO recently, you've missed lots of exciting developments in our virtual and real community. For a chance to get up to speed, and become more involved in the REALNEO development process, join folks supporting this effort at Case/REI for a hands on orientation (and can get involved with the developing Wind Power industry right after - see below).

At 11.17.04 Community of Minds: Len Steinbach, CIO, The Cleveland Museum of Art

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Mon, 11/29/2004 - 15:12.

Community of Minds hosted another great forum at Case,
partnering with REI, featuring the energetic and proactive CIO of the
world-class Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA), Len Steinbach, presenting on
innovative technologies, projects and services they’ve developed to best serve
the local community and extend their value, outreach and success around the

NOTES FROM: CIA/REI BizArt explores synergies between arts and business

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Mon, 11/29/2004 - 11:38.

BizArt is a Weatherhead School of
Management based community
dedicated to developing the synergies that exist
between the worlds of business and art. Along with many area development
leaders and professionals, this initiative is exploring the value of the creative
class in this community, and breaking down walls found in traditional economies
and organizations – everyone is creative – everyone has entrepreneurial
instincts – everyone should learn to leverage both sides of the equation. It is
exciting to see this free forum provided to students from both Case and the
Cleveland Institute of Art, allowing for sharing of knowledge and perspectives
among NEO’s emerging economic drivers.

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The skills gap will continue to grow

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Sat, 11/27/2004 - 13:57.

In his ED Pro Blog, Ed Morrison surfaces important issues for Northeast Ohio that we can address with effective economic development planning - we have a skills gap, where students and adults are not learning what is needed to function in the new economy - as demonstrated by lack of open source programmers in this region.

How to lead NEO

Submitted by Ed Morrison on Sun, 11/21/2004 - 18:32.

Over the past day or so, I've been having an interesting e-mail exchange with my colleagues, Mark Chupp at CSU and David Cooperrider at Case. We are exploring what the next steps will be for our Universities Collaborative.

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BEST PRACTICES: City-Wide Green Building Goals Set in Boston

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Sun, 11/21/2004 - 15:59.

NEO leaders increasingly care about sustainable development, shaing a viewpoint expressed by Thomas Menino, Mayor of Boston: "Green building
good for your wallet. It's good for the environment. And it's good for
people." Large industrial cities like Cleveland may find insight and best practices from initiatives like the Green Building Task Force of Boston - read on…