This is the third in a series of three articles I have created for you to help expand your innovation potential. Research has shown that with new ideas come new companies and a lot more new jobs.
Unfortunately, the Blockbuster store, a fixture in many American neighborhoods for the past 25 years, will disappear soon. Dish Network which bought the Blockbuster video rental chain out of bankruptcy in 2011, said it will close the roughly 300 remaining stores it owns by early January 2014. About 50 stores in the U.S., operated by franchisees, will still remain. The closures will cost about 2800 jobs and not only end an era, but also provide the latest example of how brick-and-mortar chains are being replaced by digital competitors.
Fortunately, there is a job-creating solution, innovation! Instead of crying over this immediate loss of jobs, U.S. leaders should make a concerted effort to provide retraining for these displaced workers. This will allow them to expand their creativity to assist growing, new fields. As a result, these workers, along with our country’s engineers, scientists and technical personnel, can make valuable contributions in other fields, which will expand the jobs base. Though research from the Small Business Administration (SBA) shows that government is not an efficient creator of jobs, education and retraining are two areas where they can help. By providing programs that expand the creativity of our nation’s workers, the government can engineer innovation into a catalyst for creating more jobs.
One such program by the City of Chicago is the Innovation Lab. Located on the third floor of the Harold Washington main branch of the Chicago Public Library at 400 S. State Street in downtown Chicago, it provides a wealth of tools for everyone from children to adults to experiment with new ideas. For example, during their Open Shop they encourage attendees to bring their design ideas and creativity, which are forged into unique creations using their laser cutters, vinyl cutters, and Maker Bot 3D printers. They provide staff for limited assistance in using the design software and machines, but the rest is left open to your own creativity!
Programs like the Innovation lab can help retrain our nation’s workers, including plant managers, directors of engineering, mechanical engineers, design engineers, CAD drafters, process engineers, quality engineers, material scientists, chemists, polymer scientists and engineers, product developers, electrical engineers, software engineers and IT professionals. This retraining can expand their creativity in a variety of new ways. As a result, they can become qualified for new jobs or create new companies in growing, cutting-edge fields after losing their jobs at contracting or dying companies in dying industries like Blockbuster.