Fast Company has released its latest list of "fast" and "slow" cities. Thankfully, Milwaukee isn't slow, but sadly we are not yet fast.
For those who don't read fastcompany.com and/or its print edition, you need to. It's, in my humble opinion, one of the leading business publications and it's always full of insightful analysis, thought provoking ideas, interesting profiles and challenging scenarios. It used to be "what's next" for business, today it is business. And, today, its analysis of cities is something Milwaukee needs to use, learn from and take to heart.
What's a fast city? According to the story, "It starts with opportunity. Not just bald economic capacity, but a culture that nurtures creative action and game-changing enterprise. Fast cities are places where entrepreneurs and employees alike can maximize their potential--where the number of patents filed is high, for instance, or where the high-tech sector is expanding." Innovation, energy and moxy. Milwaukee, I believe, has all three, but we need more, much more.
So, what cities are fast? Chicago, Portland, Austin, Tucson, Sydney and even Madison. Even Des Moines appears as a "city on the verge." So, this list isn't just about population. It's about mindset, risk tolerance, passion, the ability to change and the ability to attract.
Who is slow? St. Louis. Get this: "Too normal for its own good. It ranks dead last on CityVitals' "Weirdness Index," a measure of passion and engagement." Detroit also is listed as slow.
Milwaukee, I believe, can be faster. It wants to be and is only held back by mindsets, risk intolerance and, sadly, an increasing public education challenge that has struck many cities our size.
We have many unique factors. Our colleges and universities, one of the best downtowns in America, easy access to amazing neighborhoods and suburbs, water, manufacturing and an emerging creative sector (OMC proudly stakes its claim here).
But, we can and need to do more. One thing that's easy: talk up our city and your love of it. Another: nominate Milwaukee for next year's Fast Company "Fastest Cities" at the link below,
If Des Moines can do, I know Milwaukee can. On Milwaukee!
A life-long and passionate community leader and Milwaukeean, Jeff Sherman is a co-founder of OnMilwaukee.
He grew up in Wauwatosa and graduated from Marquette University, as a Warrior. He holds an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University, and is the founding president of Young Professionals of Milwaukee (YPM)/Fuel Milwaukee.
Early in his career, Sherman was one of youngest members of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, and currently is involved in numerous civic and community groups - including board positions at The Wisconsin Center District, Wisconsin Club and Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. He's honored to have been named to The Business Journal's "30 under 30" and Milwaukee Magazine's "35 under 35" lists.
He owns a condo in Downtown and lives in greater Milwaukee with his wife Stephanie, his son, Jake, and daughter Pierce. He's a political, music, sports and news junkie and thinks, for what it's worth, that all new movies should be released in theaters, on demand, online and on DVD simultaneously.
He also thinks you should read OnMilwaukee each and every day.