Friday, July 06, 2007

Brain Gain and Marketing Denver

And you thought Pittsburgh had problems... Enter Denver and its blighted national image:

When Denver civic and business leaders try to attract highly skilled, well-educated people to work here, they still sometimes encounter negative stereotypes.

"Everything from 'It snows all the time' to 'Do they have flush toilets?"' said Tom Clark, executive vice president of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp.

I'm going on a decade of living in the Front Range of Colorado and Mr. Clark is not spewing hyperbole. The climate and culture here are often misunderstood. The natives may lynch me for writing this, but the Denver winter is one of the easiest to weather in the United States. I've been on a Boulder rooftop beer garden in January enjoying seventy-degree temperatures in shorts and a t-shirt.

This story is rich with irony, including the model for the Denver booster program: Brain drain victim Louisville, KY. Think carefully about the lesson. Louisville suffers from an out-migration of talent. One solution employed is attracting domestic migrants from other locations, giving them a taste of the quality of life beyond the typical university experience. The aim is not to keep local human capital from leaving. The goal is to establish the region as an upper echelon destination like "New York, Boston, Washington, Los Angeles and San Francisco."

No comments: