Rejuvenate, Reinvent, Revitalize
One of the largest problems with Midwesterners is that we incessantly look backward rather than forwards. We reminisce on the past and how great things used to be “back in the day”. Midwesterners old enough to have experienced the heyday of manufacturing in the region exchange “remember whens” and tell friends and families of the glory of when the Midwest was the backbone of the American economy. Smaller Midwestern cities market themselves as "Old _____" or "Historical _____" or perhaps the cradle of some bygone invention or the birthplace of an obscure figure in history. One can only assume that this marketing ploy attracts little more than antique fanatics and pedantic historians; fewer of which exist than are required to maintain a city. Midwesterners need a paradigm, we need to start emphasizing innovation rather than stagnation in our cities.
Of the college bound residents in the Midwest, many are leaving and never returning; it doesn’t take much insight to figure out why. Smaller Midwestern cities have accepted a fate of banality. Young people are leaving for cities with a faster paced life, cities full of people who are innovators and trail blazers people who want and need progress and change. Smaller Midwestern cities needs these people to return and invest themselves in their hometowns. Cities need to create an environment of entrepreneurship and need to attract entrepreneurs who will then create new opportunities for our college graduates to return home to. Detroit’s population decreased by 25% over the past decade and without change many Midwestern cities may face a similar decline. The Governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder, aware that Detroit’s manufacturing sector is likely in a permanent decline said, “We cannot cling to the old ways of doing business. We cannot successfully transition to the ‘New Michigan’ if young, talented workers leave our state.” The Midwest and all its cities cannot cling on the old ways of doing business and the Midwest cannot successfully transition into a region associated with innovation without the retention of its residents and a change from the old.
Come attend TEDxRichmond and show your allegiance to the future; help us start an innovative dialoge that looks towards change in the Midwest as being a necessity rather than a risk to avoid. TEDxRichmond will promote new ideas worth sharing, the event will be an avenue where the audience will both learn from speakers and teach each other about events that are making the Midwest a greater place. Together we can enact change and together we can make the Midwest a greater place to live, work, and play.