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Employment Black Holes The key to the wealth of cities

How are Black Holes critical for your city’s enduring prosperity?

The authors of this article use this cosmological analogy to illustrate a major problem facing city leaders – and to show its solution. As a city leader, you should heed their message! The problem is that in the flat, smooth world of the 21st century the desirable jobs that make cities successful are easily sucked away to other cities and countries. They all go away – talent, results, successful firms, and ultimately the jobs – pulled in by those cities that are attractive to founders, investors, and employment. The authors liken this to the effect of cosmology’s black holes: a city that is recognized as the best place to be for a given domain will suck in all the action in that domain, the way Israel pulls in Cyber/IT ventures, Shenzhen is a focal point for hardware ventures, Houston attracts Energy ventures, and Silicon Valley pulls in anything hi-tech.

The article then points out the solution you need: a city wishing to retain enduring jobs and success must create its own black hole in a domain where it has an “unfair advantage” – ideally based on a local attribute or resource that can’t move elsewhere. This model leads to practical advice for city (and regional) managers. They are told how to identify a city’s enduring domain, avoiding generic areas that can disappear and focusing on local strengths that cannot; how to develop this domain into becoming a black hole while avoiding pitfalls that may stifle it; How to enlist external support correctly; and how to always be looking for the next unfair advantage.

Examples of successful black holes and their underlying advantages will give you ample food for thought, which can be processed into crucially valuable outcomes for cities wishing to survive and thrive in the new world we live in.

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About the Authors:

Prof. Yesha Sivan – Executive Director, Coller Institute of Venture at Tel Aviv University.
Nathan Zeldes – Globally recognized thought leader in the search for improved knowledge worker productivity.