We knew this day would come…the natural "Dip" of painful change and
the awkward place of transition. Moving from the most highly trained
manufacturing workforce in the world – during the industrial age – to a
highly skilled workforce in the information age takes painful change
and transition. Think about that time in your life…usually somewhere
around high school graduation… that point of boldly declaring what
you’re going to be when you grow up. Now think about the journey to get
there. People all lined up at your graduation party, card and money in
hand giving you tons of moral support in your effort to be the next
great brain surgeon or Bill Gates or maybe even Bill Clinton – God
Forbid. Then came that one course.
As Seth Godin writes in his recent book, "The Dip" for pre-med
students its Organic Chemistry. All the great intentions and well
wishes are out the window when it comes to passing Organic Chemistry.
It’s the natural barrier that we as a society put up between a yahoo
for a brain surgeon and a brain surgeon for a brain surgeon. The Dip
eliminates the meek and the mild, the faint of heart.
I recall back in May of 2004 when nearly 2,000 people stood up at
"The Max" and declared at the inaugural CreateDetroit event "I AM
DETROIT." It was the new economy working class’ rallying cry, the bold
declaration of unity and solidarity as we marched toward that vision of
a new Detroit prospering from the knowledge and creativity of the
masses. You would have thought you were back in the 30’s during a union
rally or something. The whole concept was formed from the work of a
book entitled "Rise of the Creative Class" for goodness sake.
But then for some strange reason we all went back to work the next
day. Back to the grind in our region that was built for a different
past age. Since that time some have continued to journey, continued to
live out the dream of moving to a knowledge economy. I drank the
Kool-Ade and I’m trying to do my part. After all it just takes every
person in the City to do the same, that’s all. It’s not easy, necessary
change never is.
The question we must ask ourselves as a
region: Do we have what it takes? Are we the yahoo or we the tough
gritty hardworking never quit people that we’ve always claimed to be.
Organic Chemistry is our current course. Report cards are coming home
soon. Are you ready to give up or are you just starting to dig in?