11/9/2007 Slide 1
Higher Paying Jobs
How many high paying year round
professional and staff jobs do you need in
2017 for your town to thrive?
If you graduate 100 students/year, you
will have 1000 graduates in ten years.
Assuming 30% of the teens stay or return,
you will need 300 professional positions.
We set up this slide as the first slide and just let people look at it while they are gathering.
You need enough high paying professional jobs with sufficient discretionary income to support the local
businesses when the tourists are not present otherwise they will go out of business.
Most people who have knowledge of various economic development groups will admit that in their
visioning sessions, this first question has not been posed to the group. We tend to focus on labor
positions or just getting as many as possible without distinguishing between labor and professional jobs.
A town should multiple the numbers of graduates by a ten year cycle. Then they can estimate the
percentage of their youth that they would like to have stay or return for professional higher paying
positions of $50,000+ in addition to the $18/hour labor position. The percentage will vary and should
recognize that you will need some professional positions for people who what to immigrate to your
town but who have never lived there before. So the total number needed in a ten year period should
probably be larger.
You can download or view the actual presentation at www.designstudio.pbwiki.com
Higher Paying Jobs
Assuming 50 higher paying staff
positions per $10,000,000 in revenue,
how many $10,000,000 per year niche
companies would you need in the next
ten years to get 300 professional
positions? (50 professionals/company)
We must make assumptions that will vary with the product and services. For example, a software
company will have fewer staff and professional positions than many other companies. And the
proportion may decrease over time as the company improves its production capabilities even in a
market that is growing. For the sake of discussion, please let’s agree with the 50 positions for each
$10,000,000 in revenue.
If you need three hundred positions, then you need six $10,000,000 niche companies over the next ten
If you have a specific goal, it is sometimes easier or we become more effective in reaching that goal.
Therefore, we would encourage a town to try and answer this question even if they have to make
How Much Would
How much would your county pay for an
invention that could grow into a $10,000,000
company over ten years ?
How much would your county invest in an
invention and a management team that could
grow a $10,000,000 /year “publicly owned
corporation” over ten years?
Now here is where the discussion gets interesting.
If the county or town were to only purchase and invention and grow their own company over time, what
might that be willing to pay for that technology? You need to consider issues like:
• Type of positions and salaries
• Local revenues through corporate, real estate and other taxes that benefit the town or county
• Supplier companies that might headquarter in your town
The second question is interesting because we can find professional managers who would move to rural
Michigan to lead a company. They would need a fair salary, bonus, option not to exceed 25% of the
locally controlled and publicly owned company. This would ensure that the heirs of the owners would
not sell the company just to get cash without the town getting its fair share.
Most communities and Economic Development Organizations and policies do not address this process.
“The best way
to predict the
is to create it.”
Teens understand this quotation from their experiences with the web and the new businesses that have
been created by teens and young adults: Bill Gates, Michael Dell, Google, MyFace, etc. Teens actually
understand better than most adults that teens can create the future. They are seeing it happen before
their very eyes. If a teen lives in Silicon Valley or Boston, they live in a culture that expects and
challenges them to create the future. Michigan focuses on labor jobs for adults not innovation by teens.
Too often we react to what is happening rather than influencing the future.
A distinctive 21st century
economic engine fueled by…
…quot;gifted & talentedquot; teens
collaborating with their peers in
Four key words in this presentation:
We are part of a Michigan 20th century culture that focused on EXCELLENCE:
“Doing the ordinary exceptionally well.”
Distinctive: “Doing the out‐of‐the‐ordinary just well.”
Economic not a social engine
3. “Creatively Gifted and Organizationally Talented”
Collaborate with towns through building a network of towns
In the first half of the 20th century,
Michigan was a center of innovation
and a creator of industries and
suppliers often in rural towns.
In the second half of the 20th
century, Michigan was unable to
refill the innovation pipeline.
Where was the third high tech venture capital of the U.S. in the 20th century? Detroit—1900‐1929
Where was the fourth high tech center of the U.S. around aviation in 1945? Willow Run Airport in 1945.
The auto industry had the engineering, manufacturing and assembly capability to build the bombers for
WW II but decided to get back to making money after the war. The auto executives and the STATE did
not see a commercial airline business in the future. Instead, the industry went to Seattle.
Education in the first half of the 20th century was an investment to create a labor force that
could read manuals and work in decimals as well as use a caliper to measure things.
Education in the second half of the 20th century has become an extravagant expense where
we finance and educate talent pool for Austin, Texas, San Francisco, California, Denver, Colorado and
the Research Triangle of North Carolina.
While we have Gentex Corporation and its Electrochromic technology (automatic darkening of mirrors in
your rear view mirror) as well as Dow‐Corning that emerged in the second half of this century, we have
lost our competitive edge as an industry creator in rural communities: How big was Battle Creek in
1909? Dearborn in 1907? Midland in 1910? Fremont, etc.
Mastery or Innovation?
• Steamships were not created by…
mastering the technologies of sails and rigging.
• Jet aircraft did not result from...
mastering piston-propeller aircraft.
• Transistors were not invented by…
mastering vacuum tubes.
• Photocopiers did not result from…
mastering carbon paper.
• Principle: Breakthroughs are not created by…
mastering current products or technologies.
Each town must make a choice: MASTERY OR INNOVATION
Will you focus on 20th century engineering based mastery?
Or will you have a town whose driving force is innovation and pioneering and design?
Listen to the language of your town culture. It will tell you a lot about your core competencies.
Clearly, it is not quite this simple. Once a product is introduced, the product life cycle demands
incremental improvement or mastery techniques but it cannot be the driving force. Apple and Steve
Jobs has had four major innovations: PC, Macintosh interface, Pixar and IPOD. Microsoft and Bill Gates
bought the DOS operating system and sold it to IBM. What was Microsoft’s next major innovation?
They bought Hot Mail and several other companies but…would you rather have owned Microsoft or
Apple stock over the last five years when it began its run at $17/share.
Will we be about MASTERY or INNOVATION?
You will not succeed with the Design Studio if we try and do both.
Mastery versus Design
•Steelcase is an example of …
•Herman Miller is an example of …
Steelcase Corporation in Grand Rapids is a local example of MASTERY. They took the partial height wall
designed by Herman Miller and manufactured it cheaper and probably better. They eventually got a
larger share of the market but not the higher profit margin share that Herman Miller had.
Who needs the other company more? Bill Wilkie argues that Steelcase needs Herman Miller to keep
designing new products for new markets so that Steelcase can manufacture them and compete.
Without new design, the market dries up.
Has anyone been in the Steelcase or Herman Miller R&D facilities?
Pyramid was built by Steelcase. Herman Miller put its R&D in a BARNYARD.
A barnyard is about procreation. A center of creativity. A great environment for innovation.
Steelcase chose a symbol that is a “monument to the DEAD.” They put their R&D staff in an
environment that showcases the achievements of the past not the innovations of the future.
They chose a symbol that comes out of a culture of Mastery not Innovation.
Herman Miller chose a milieu that reflects the creative process for the future.
• Locally owned companies
• Designing products and services
• With higher than normal profits
• For national & international markets
• Where the profits come back home
• And create higher paying jobs
Competitive Edge: this is Wilkie’s simple definition. It is the only way he has discovered that a small
rural town can get a competitive edge and have a chance to produce the desired results of a “THRIVING”
town. Each town needs to define the characteristics of that community.
Is this easy? NO! But if you never fill the pipeline around:
DESIGN, REDESIGN, INVENTORS NETWORK, GROWING OUR OWN HEADQUARTERS, THEN IT WILL
In Bill Wilkie’s analysis of HomeTown Competitiveness, they stated that their goal was to make a town
competitive. That sounds like a good thing. However, when you examine what it really means, it falls
short of what is necessary to thrive. In the NFL, teams that are at the bottom want to become
competitive. They want to make the playoffs. But many competitive NFL teams never win it all.
Eventually, their fans become disgruntled. Your town is no different. You will become disgruntled with
bringing in franchises and branch plants. The Design Studio Network is designed to give a town a
COMPETITIVE‐EDGE so that they can win the big game by growing locally owned companies that sell
high margin products and services to national markets. See www.designstudio.pbwiki.com
The New X Factors
Gifted & Talented Teens
• Most creative & underutilized natural resource
• Most likely (3%-5%) to think outside the box
• Most likely resource to create jobs/companies
• Most of them have gone underground
• Towns export them and they do not return
• All of them need to be valued and challenged
You all know what an X factor is? It is the unknown and unpredictable.
Instead of valuing the unique resource that has been placed in every town, county, state and nation, we
have forced them underground because they think qualitatively different than everybody else. We
could have given them coping skills and explained the situation but no…we said, “They will thrive.”
Do you remember the 1st, 2nd and 3rd grader who used to raise their hand to answer almost every
question the teacher asked? In fact, by third grade they were asking questions that the teacher did not
know the answer to. By 4th grade, they no longer raised their hand or asked questions. The peer group
as well as the teachers had communicated that the education process was not created for people like
them. That is not to be critical of an education process designed for 95% of the youth. But we in
Michigan allowed the MICHIGAN legislature’s to withdraw the line item for Gifted and Talented around
1990. That targeted money for this small segment went to buy paper, pencils and salaries instead.
We can find the G & T teens. Bill Wilkie believes that we can engage them if we would value them by
asking for their help around a real life opportunity for their hometown.
•National Trend: Design Society
•Applied think -tank
•Innovation & Redesign
•Virtual or on-line
National Trend: We have moved from an agricultural to an industrial to information to a knowledge
society. What is next? In ten years it will be common to refer to “DESIGN SOCIETY.” Wall Street and
selected publications like FAST COMPANY magazine are already talking about it. www.fastcompany.com
Applied think tank: But one that looks like the messy inventor’s garage and reeks of creativity.
Virtual: A teen’s peer group today is not local. It is international. They can and do communicate
virtually. This may be new for us but not for teens.
Collaborative: The Design Studio will eventually have some designers or inventors who do not work
well in a team. But we are interested in promoting a collaborative team approach with all of its inherent
power and benefits.
•It is not a teen simulation
•It is not a volunteer program
•It is about the…
destiny of their hometown
Michigan has many “Gifted and Talented” programs that it funds including football, girls and boys
basketball, baseball, track, etc. In some high school, you also have the debate team, the drama club,
etc. However, the Design Studio is a separate institution from the high school because it is not a
simulation experience or a volunteer unpaid program.
Very few rural communities have been able to grow locally owned headquarters for products and
services with a national or international market. In most cases, it is because the town did not see a
logical or affordable strategy. If a successful entrepreneur happened to base their company in your
town, it might replicate itself but not very often.
The Design Studio will educate and challenge a highly creative and energetic teen segment to influence
the “destiny of their HOMETOWN.” It is not a game. Moreover, we can have more than one BIG winner
in a county, a region or the entire State of Michigan. It is serious business. If these teens and their
successors are not effective over the next decade, their hometown may survive but it may not thrive.
The teens in the Design Studio will understand what is at STAKE. NO PRESSURE!
Key executives in major corporations do not become wealthy around their salary. It is the deferred
compensation packages of bonus and stock options that often creates substantial wealth. If a team has
a successful project, they will receive compensation: cash, stock or royalties. In addition, they will win
college scholarships as individuals and teams because of their distinctive portfolios.
Design Studio Process
• 15- 30 teens within six months in
• Virtual teams of 3 to 4 on several projects will
• Design and redesign products and services
• Around the passion of a “champion”
• Collaborate with other design studios as well as
• On-line collaboration with teens in the U.S.
• Selling products to towns and companies
• For a self-sustaining non-profit Design Studio
3M Champion Model:
Every new product development program fails on average three times before it is successful. When a
team at 3M encounters an insurmountable barrier to success, they dismantle the team but let the
CHAMPION continue on one a day a week until they find a solution. Then they reconstitute a new team
and so through the same process on average three different times. This will be a core element of the
SELF SUSTAINING but NON PROFIT
Michigan Public Act 444 allows a 16 and 17 year old to serve as a voting member on a Board of Trustees
as long as the number of 16 and 17 year olds does not exceed the number of adults.
The Non‐Profit Design Studio will usually sell a product or service to a town or corporation for cash,
stock and or a royalty payment that will eventually make the Design Studio self‐sustaining. They can
also be a contractor with a company or town for design services in their niches.
• One self sustaining non-profit Design Studio
• One or more specialized for-profit studios.
• 5-10 niche companies headquartered in town
• Higher paying jobs created
– Labor, professionals and owners
• Youth invest in the destiny of their hometown
• Retain a higher percentage of those youth
• Increase a town’s revenue base
B ill Wilkie’s Role in 2008
• Identify two teens with community’s assistance
– One creatively gifted
– One organizationally talented
• 5+ towns meet monthly
• Three objectives (teach--challenge—ignite):
1. Functioning Design Studio in 4-6 months
2. Train teens to find inventors & create database
3. Funding proposal for foundations to accelerate not
create…by building on the $47,500,000 Kellogg
Foundation challenge grant from 1992-1999 to the
Michigan Community Foundation Youth Project & YAC
Bill Wilkie’s role is to “teach—challenge—ignite.” He knows how to do this and has done it with teens
since 1985 when he wrote a manual with his son Jason entitled, “The College Bound Football Player.”
They have appeared in USA Today three times and conducted workshops for high school 8th, 9th and 10th
graders around their passion for football and basketball until 1996.
www.football‐recruiting‐tips.com and www.next‐generation‐series.com
Kellogg’s Youth Challenge Grant Project in the 1990’s was a wonderful infrastructure building project.
The Youth Advisory Council’s or YAC’s has been a great addition. In fact, they got the Michigan
Legislature to pass Michigan Public act 444 that allowed under age teens (16 and 17 year olds) to legally
serve on the Board of Trustees of non‐profit corporations with a vote. However, the Design Studio
Network will emphasize a new YAC—Youth ACTION Council that will focus on collaborative economic
development ACTION strategies for rural Michigan Towns. A second distinctive element of the
foundation proposal development process will encourage the teens to approach Kellogg Foundation
leadership early about designing a COLLABORATIVE RATHER THAN AN ADVERSARIAL OR COMPETITIVE
APPLICATION PROCESS. This is more consistent with a 21st century approach to relationship.
Where do you fit in?
• 3-4 town leaders introduce the project to:
– Teens, Parents, leaders and Institutions
• Each town funds the first year: $3,600/town +
• Two computers, software, communications, etc.
• Prepay the first quarter: $900/team
• Be available to problem solve…and mentor
• Allow teams to selectively access your network
Does it make sense to you?
Can it work?
Can you actively support this
idea with other decision makers in
William R. Wilkie
471 West Long Lake Drive
Harrison, Michigan 48625
989.539.1928 or 517.410.9115
Reference: Dr. Emmett Lippe
Novi Public Schools
Virtual Design Studio
A local self-sustaining nonprofit Design Studio is
organized and operated by “gifted and talentedquot;
teens. Half of the Studio’s voting trustees are 16
and 17 year olds. (Michigan Public Act 444) Each
local design studio is part of the Virtual Design
Network. Each studio networks local teens to
national peers. Together, they build a network of
inventors and bring home their ideas. The studio
staff redesigns inventions creating niche
companies. Products are sold in national markets
returning better than average profits to your
• Bill Gates and Michael Dell
• Great Lakes Motor Works
• Girl Power in Monroe, Michigan
• Google’s Product Development
Bill Gates and Michael Dell are two teens who left college before they turned twenty and shaped
an industry. Why do we not expect teens to do that in Michigan?
Great Lakes Motor Works is a good example of growing a locally owned headquarters. In what
way does it differ from the Design Studio model?
Girl Power has now been showcased in magazines, newspapers and on the TV program—The VIEW.
She is a sixteen year old who in two years has built a web based design business that generates $70,000
per month with lots of accompanying problems because our societal systems are not designed to handle
this exceptional person.
Google’s Product Development program requires its young R&D types to spend one day a week
on their own personal passion/project that might benefit the company. According to their CEO, all the
new internally generated businesses have come from their efforts not the projects decided by the
“ADULT” executive committee.