global producer of flexible electronics. “We’ve been working in this area for a very long time, and between the University of Akron and Kent State University, we have a critical mass in research assets. Moreover, we have companies that make products and the various markets in flexible electronics. If we can capitalize on that and make the cluster as interconnected and ‘sticky’ as possible over the next three years, we can be known internationally as a premier focus of innovation in flexible electronics. This will take a lot of focus from the community, and buy-in from the stakeholders, but the markets are already forming.”

DISCUSSION

Dr. Singerman commented that as a long-term observer of the region, he saw its strategy as distinctive in several ways. First was the critical role played by the philanthropic community in organizing and energizing the economic development community. He said that only a few other places, including Pittsburgh with the Heinz Foundation and St. Louis with the Danforth Foundation, had benefited from this degree of philanthropic leadership. The region had also gained visibility through its programs with the Brookings Institution and the Center for American Progress, and now the National Academies. “This is not an accident,” he said. “It’s a result of a lot of hard work. Also, it’s no accident that the President came to Cleveland a month ago, and I’m sure the newspaper articles and phone calls had incalculable value.”

Mr. Bendis said that regional strengths and visibility run in cycles, and that northeast Ohio was in an up-cycle. “This is your day, northeast Ohio. Enjoy it, but don’t rest on your laurels. It takes continual renewal and reinvestment to maintain the leadership position you now have. Others will study you and emulate what you are doing.”

Dr. Wessner asked whether there were visible gaps in the model, and whether it was sustainable as presently formed. Mr. Berglund said that SSTI, his organization, had a high opinion of the region, and that it had selected Cleveland for its annual conference several years previously. Those locations are chosen because they are “select places we think have a good story to tell, and a place where people will learn from.”

Good Communication Among NGOs

A questioner noted that with several NGOs working in the same region, it would be helpful to understand the distinction between their missions. Mr. Berglund agreed, saying that good communication and personal relationships among the organizations had much to do with the region’s success. Some other regions, he said, had had difficulties in this respect. In Pennsylvania and New York, he said, new administrations had seen what appeared to be redundant development organizations and proposed replacing them with block grants for the regions. “Part of the reason why that happened in those states,” he said, “is



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