Harbor knew he was a stranger in a strange land. He had never visited until Alabama Governor Kay Ivy searched for his employer, Kay Ivy. Hoover Institution, Stanford University Public Policy Think Tank, Alabama Innovation Commission.. Ivey established a committee in July 2020 to find ways to increase the state’s economic prosperity through entrepreneurship, technology and innovation.
Harbor, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and Helen Bin, and chief adviser to the committee, spoke of his hiking misfortune in a recent Hoover podcast. “Policy and Political Issues: Sweet Home Alabama.” He shared a story to explain Alabama’s assets that many outsiders don’t know – proving that the assets he believes in are worth it because the state positions itself to take advantage of the innovation economy. To do.
“I’m a native New Yorker and not known for our hospitality,” Harbor told the podcast host. Bill Hollen, Virginia Hobbes Carpenter, was a prominent policy fellow in Hobbes and journalism, laughing between the two. “If you’re a little moody, we’re fine, but the Alabama people have embarrassed us about making people feel welcome.”
Beyond the elegance of the Alabamas, Harbor said, he was impressed with the beauty of the state.
From beaches to hardwoods to karst terrain with limestone cliffs and rolling hills in the upper two-thirds of the state, “Beautiful Alabama” has other benefits.
“For example, for those who are rock climbers, this is a paradise,” said Harbor. “For a road biker like me, this is a paradise, because if you’re a cyclist, you can’t beat a gentle hill.” He also proclaimed Alabama’s “paradise” for golfers and birdwatching. did.
“Frontier of the Innovation Economy”
Mr Harbor said the third asset is that Alabama leaders “have found an opportunity for the state to move to the frontier of the innovation economy … and they are very thoughtful about it.”
“For me, who grew up in New York and lived in the West for 35 years, these are all big surprises,” he said.
The rest of the Harbor and Hoover Institution staff will leverage the state’s assets as Alabama aims to “build the infrastructure so that the next technological revolution will take place in Alabama rather than somewhere.” Is working on.
Whalen said the stakes are “very personal” to at least one Hoover Institution staff member. Condoleezza riceBorn in Birmingham, former US Secretary of State and member of the Advisory Board of the Innovation Commission. “She is also passionate about this,” he said.
The Innovation Commission has already had a significant impact on its work since its first meeting in August 2020. Parliament approved, Ivy signed the Commission’s priority bill from the interim recommendations and established Alabama Innovation Corporation to accelerate the growth of state innovation. A state matching program for small businesses funded by the federal government to stimulate the economy and innovation.
Zeke Smith, chair of the Innovation Commission’s Advisory Board, congratulated the Commission and the Legislature on the legislation of the priority bill.
“As Alabama leverages innovation to drive the economy, they have laid the groundwork for further success. The Hoover Institution has already played a valuable role in the Commission’s activities and has made final recommendations. I’m looking forward to it, “said Smith, Alabama Power’s Vice President of Foreign Affairs, following the podcast.
Hoover joined state efforts in December 2020, And its work and the resulting recommendations will be part of the Commission’s report to the Governor and Legislature scheduled for October. Hoover’s focus is on developing data-driven policy recommendations in four areas:
Business incentives and prosperity. Hoover researchers value the state’s current incentives to attract businesses and what works and what doesn’t in incentive programs across the country.
Development of broadband-based education. Hoover’s McKeleymondThe director of the Center for Educational Achievement Research (CREDO) at Stanford University investigated the current state and potential of broadband throughout Alabama and conducted K-12 schools, especially STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arithmetic).
Fostering the role of the university. Hoover is working with senior faculty members and managers at the University of Alabama to study some of the most productive innovation economies in the United States, including Silicon Valley in California, the Research Triangle in North Carolina, and Route 128 in the Boston area. ..
Outdoor recreation lab. This is a baby in the harbor. As a result, he was lost in work, hiking and biking during his visit to Alabama. Harbor and the group are considering outdoor recreation in Alabama as a recruitment tool with the potential to grow their own economy.
“The general impetus for Hoover’s work on the Alabama Innovation Commission is to focus on attracting people from the state and to restrain college graduates so that the market economy does not yet produce products. It didn’t exist or people had imagined, “Harbor said.
He said the key to doing this was to bring the state closer to the “frontier of new industries.”
“That means bringing people with a very well-developed complementary skill set to the state, but to do that, Alabama needs the right infrastructure. Broadband infrastructure is needed. We need a well-trained workforce, a kindergarten-to-high school education, “says Harbor. “Especially for university professors to turn scientific or engineering research into commercial products, they need legal infrastructure, and outdoor recreation infrastructure.”
A 21NS The innovation ecosystem of the century must be able to attract and retain highly skilled people, Harbor said.
“I look at the people of my daughter’s generation and what they want to know is what to do on weekends and after work. Can I go kayaking? Canoeing? Can I go mountain biking? Can I go rock climbing? Can I make the raft a torrent? Can I hike? Can I camp? Can I surf?
“These are ways to attract highly skilled people. Young people are particularly accustomed to the outdoor environment and the recreational opportunities it brings,” he said. “So I think it’s a necessary part of a successful ecosystem.”
Enhancing outdoor recreation in Alabama also grows small businesses that create jobs and serve the industry. Harbor quoted Joe Farm, who has raised more than three generations of Black Angus cattle on 200 acres near Greensboro, Hale County.Christopher Joe launches a connection business between birds and nature tours Invite bird watching to a family farm..
“He knew there was a demand for outdoor recreation and created a business aimed at earning some of their income to maintain his farm,” Harbor said.
With the growth of the outdoor recreation industry, Harbor wants universities to unleash the power of professors to create and grow their businesses. But state policymakers need to relax regulations that hinder entrepreneurship.
He cited a favorite example of Irwin Jacobs, a professor of electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a transfer to the University of California, San Diego. Within two years, Jacobs founded the first startup, and about 12 years later, according to Harbor. Qualcomm, “Of course, this is now powering every smartphone on the planet.”
Qualcomm has grown into a $ 25 billion company with 30,000 employees, Harbor said.
“But that only happened if there were proper rules, legal infrastructure in place to allow someone like Jacobs to move back and forth between the classroom and his own startup,” he said. I did.
In other words, few startups have the potential to grow into Qualcomm, but the state is of high quality to create a fertile environment for the growth of the innovation economy and to retain and attract highly skilled workers. If you don’t secure a living, it won’t happen. It is necessary for the economy to bloom.
Harbor says that innovation and economic development are “not events. They are processes.” That is, while remarkable progress has been made in the short term, “now there are some infrastructure issues, including legal infrastructure. You can move something with wise decisions, but it will happen on a scale of decades, not months or years. “
Mr Warren said Hoover’s role on the committee was to lay the groundwork for what was to come, and think tanks have historically “haven’t done much in the state government.” … That’s one of the things I’m intrigued about. If the state is a democracy institute, they are also an innovation institute. “
Harbor acknowledged that Alabama was Hoover’s first attempt to cooperate with the state government on policy.
“I don’t think it’s the last,” he said. “When talking to Condoleezza Rice about this, we share the view that many of the problems and challenges facing the United States will actually be resolved at the state and local levels, not at the federal level. doing.”
According to Harbor, working at the state and local levels is easy and changes occur faster than at the federal level.
“It also provides the ability to know people and regions that could not otherwise be engaged from pure self-interest and joy.”
Whalen replied: “And in this case, people happen to be very kind and in a great place for hiking and cycling.”
“It’s especially great to do that,” Harbor said.
(Provided Alabama News Center).
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