Economic Development Forum Recap

From left to right: Dr. Daniel Stancil, Catherine Truitt, Ted Abernathy, Roberta Fox, Michael Haley

“Think about the future. It helps us get started on the present.” This year's Economic Development Forum keynote speaker, Ted Abernathy, posed this thought to the audience. Abernathy is the managing partner of Economic Leadership LLC. He went on to set up the conversation around considering what the future of the region may look like and how can we prepare now for disruptive trends. Ted identified four key trends for the next 20 years that will shape and impact both people and business. Those trends are acceleration, hyper-connectivity, constant disruption, and rising complexity.

As always, Ted’s view into the future was real and informative. We’ve shared a few key statements from his keynote:

  • We (people) are reinventing everything.
  • The future is here but unevenly distributed.
  • Imagine where technology will take us? We are a hyper-connected world.
  • Education in the future will require quantifiable credentials.
  • Stop predicting jobs. Start predicting skills.
  • Global trends are impacting how we do business every day. All industries are at some stage of disruption.

And finally, Ted shared his predictions for how the Triangle region can adapt to growth and remain competitive with change:

  • Strategic perspective
  • Getting things done
  • Working together
  • Innovation mindset

This year’s Economic Development Forum also highlighted experts from different industries. Panel members represented the tech sector, education, development, and the economy. Each panelist offered unique viewpoints to how we may look in 20 years. Here are a few key statements from the panel discussion, moderated by Michael Haley, Executive Director of Wake County Economic Development:

  • Roberta Fox, urban designer and architect, asked, “We need a system in place for change management.” She commented about how to ensure the physical person can and will adjust to change?
  • Abernathy said, “The next part of futurism is people. We don’t spend enough time talking about how technology will impact people.”
  • Catherine Truitt, chancellor, Western Governors University North Carolina said, “It is critical we look at our education system and adjust to new ways of learning. It is hard to convince people to change the way they do something. We need to be educating people in North Carolina.”
  • Dan Stancil, executive director, IBM Q Hub at NC State University, said, “Disruptive technology is hard to define. However, disruptive technology like Quantum Computing will create more opportunities.”

Where do we go from here? Change is inevitable and growth is happening. Michael Haley, executive director of Wake County Economic Development, shared his closing comments after the panel, “The Raleigh Chamber is helping prepare this community to face growth and thrive with change. We are focusing on economic development, economic mobility, transit and transportation, diversity, equity, and inclusivity, small business/entrepreneur support, and government affairs.” You can check out highlights from the ED Forum via Twitter.

Thank you to our presenting sponsor, Bank of America.





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