I definitely agree with Ms. Essig. And also with those both wary and weary of County budgets going to well-paid outside consultants flown or Skyped in to tell us what they think we should do for ourselves. I also believe we risk much by taking outside influence and carte blanche applying it to our local conditions – this is the strip mall mentality many of us are trying to avoid. Do we really want to market ourselves, our community, like an electric juicer?
With all this emphasis on "local" and "Humboldt Made," what's wrong with the local expertise already here? How about putting some money toward facilitating local engagement and developing local capacity, rather than flying outsiders here to deliver stylish lectures at us, then criticize and chastise us?
Sure, there is benefit in getting outside perspectives, but that benefit is only realized when the outside perspectives can be heard in the context of local perspectives. And if we really want these fresh perspectives to be meaningful, they should result in developing our local capacity to engage with each other. Otherwise, we're just paying for revival-tent- style entertainment sprinkled with basic marketing ideas that we don’t know what to do with. (The beauty of that kind of consulting – don’t know what to do next? Why, hire me back and I’ll tell you!)
I was at the summit, and felt some of the info was useful – even if it was typical marketing 101. He had a captive audience, was a captivating speaker, and made people feel inspired. But, as some commenters already pointed out, most of us left wondering “now what?” Perhaps Mr. Davis (or, better yet, a local counterpart with whom he could have worked alongside) could have taken those in attendance through exercises to apply the concepts he presented. What good is it to get a bunch of local leaders and thinkers in a room together to hear inspiring ideas, but then fail to provide them with an immediate opportunity to practice those ideas or produce something out of their time there? Why not take time that day to form committees to take things to the next level, instead of letting people leave feeling like someone else has to pick up the ball in order for anything to happen?
It seems the County has been repeatedly awed and star-struck by these out-of-area intellectuals – hitching their wagon to a star without really knowing where they want to go except up. But is “up” always the best way? What about in? What about the countless professionals, academics, and leaders in our community who perhaps just need to have a venue to gather, a few good engagers to facilitate collaboration and idea-development, and events coordinated to allow things happen?
In Print This Week:
Dec 5, 2013
vol XXIV issue 49
The North Coast Journal Weekly
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