Rural development will depend on a lot of factors to include new ideas. There must be a commitment to thinking outside of parameters that have been explored for years and “repurposing” incredible technologies to meet dire needs. Looking at growing and developing economic engines consistent with the needs of small businesses in rural communities is where public policy, technology and creativity must intersect.
The cornerstone of rural development will be open minds willing to listen to new ideas, take risk; seizing opportunities that once targeted communities that were more affluent. Welcoming ideas that are in contrast with the way things are traditionally done in rural communities, is to be reminded that growth and development has not happened at a rate that has made any significant difference. The quality of life of the community remains stagnated and persistent poverty continues.
Being too close can be the greatest challenge of all. For example, if a colleague asks your advice on where to go for dinner, you are quick to make recommendations. If your spouse asks you the same question, all of a sudden creativity, consideration and best place draws a mental blank as your confidence wanes. So it goes with building local economies. Sometimes it takes outside voices to drive the queries and you to steer public policy in the direction to make it all happen. Personal perspective, experience and leadership style could need tweaking for the reality of doing business in an age of booming technological advances.
Domino Pizza in the UK is a brilliant example of that. They wanted to figure out a way to deliver pizza better. So, they contracted with T + Biscuits, a creative digital agency in the UK, and they “delivered” big.
T+Biscuits proposed drone delivery of pizza. Flying over rural areas and waterways, the test delivery was successful. For sure it was for a dual purpose: an opportunity to establish Domino as a front runner in repurposing the use of drones, and deliver a clear message that Domino was serious about delivering pizza better. Now consider the far reaching economic potential beyond simple pizza delivery. Think of the public policy this introduces and the long-term rural impact of repurposing the use of this technology. Drones are just one of many technological advances that can be repurposed to bridge rural barriers to economic growth and development while transforming rural communities all together.
So much has changed within the last six months, not to mention, the past few hours. Dramatic leaps into the arena of technology is required if progress is to be made. And, if the leaps necessary face gaping holes, then the “how” to fill in the gaps can be contracted. The old adage you can’t continue doing the same thing and expect a different result, has never been truer.
Rural communities cannot hit a target that has already moved. They must prove to have mastered the art of real time information gathering, a knack for analyzing information rapidly while at the same time making plans for its application within the context of the poverty the community faces and then the wisdom to craft policies and build alliances that make it all possible.