Regions Have One Too

Building a strategic narrative is not exclusively for organizations.

If you’re a company of one, you should build one too. The same goes for solopreneurs or independent practitioners. If you are one, you have an opportunity to boost your impact with a thoughtful strategy framed with a narrative structure.

At a larger scale, regions and countries have a narrative as well. And just like for organizations, it depends on leadership to influence and shape it.

The Seattle region, developed on Indigenous land, has a narrative of economic boom-and-bust formed by many pioneer stories. They’re like crystals shaping the city's reputation of resilience, positivity, and innovation.

Archaeological excavations suggest that Native Americans have inhabited the Seattle area for at least 4,000 years. Then the city flourished as a timber town. The second and most dramatic boom resulted from the Klondike Gold Rush. Since the post-war years, the aerospace and software industries took over.

This narrative leaves on. Even during the tough economic times, we’re going through.


My friend and client, Robert White, CEO of Sound Sustainability, just released the 2020 Greater Seattle Innovation Economy Report Card. He co-authored it on behalf of the "Iinnovate Leadership Network" with R. Joe Ottinger, James Alexander, and Professor Emer Dooley of the Foster School of Business, University of Washington.

The document starts like this:

2020 was a banner year for the innovation economy in the Greater Seattle region and Washington State, despite all of the challenges related to the coronavirus. Total VC capital invested into companies in the region grew by 16% YOY despite a contraction in the economy overall, and Q1 2021 saw an even greater growth in capital invested of almost 165% over Q1 2020.

In addition, the region ranked #1 overall by US News, #2 in GDP growth, and #1 in the concentration of STEM jobs, outpacing Silicon Valley. The census data for 2019 showed that the number of people employed in STEM fields reached almost 89,700 in 2019, and now make up approximately 19% of the about 470,000 employed Seattle residents.

You can download the full report here.

For the strategic narrative of the Seattle Region, this piece fuels the opportunity story, one of the four fundamental stories of the MetaHelm systems of stories.

It always feels good to share something positive these days.

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