Do you think Philly is a ‘thinking’ city?

Inquirer Business news today:  Philadelphia has joined what sounds like an exclusive club of “thinking cities.”  So should we puff-up our collective chest and thank our  92 post-secondary educational institutions for generating the “thinkers” – college graduates?  Maybe the collaboration between the Phila. Chamber of Commerce & academia solved the brain drain that has contributed to Philadelphia’s population drop?  How to reconcile this ‘thinking’ brand with the Eagles fans who throw snowballs at Santa Claus and ask youz if you want your steak sandwich wit wiz or widdout…

Of course I’m setting up a contrary conclusion.  Mike Armstrong, blogger, has reported on an interesting, albeit geeky report that attempts to identify geographic clusters that share similar engines for generating their local economies. I think the report validates the need to find one’s authentic brand – whether a city or an individual.  Read on…

While it is indisputable that our global economy is based on ‘knowledge,’ this “Knowledge in Cities” report makes it clear that  economic development is not a “one-brand suits all” proposition.  The authors make the case that is important for business and political leaders to recognize their regional “brand” or regional economic identity so their human talent can thrive.  Here are a few descriptions of these regional brands:

Thinking Regions: High knowledge about arts, humanities, IT and commerce; low knowledge about manufacturing.  Philly joins 33 other areas, including NY-Northeastern NJ, Olympia, WA, San Diego, CA, and Victoria, BC

Innovating Regions: Very high knowledge about IT, arts, commerce and engineering; low knowledge about manufacturing.  In this group, you’ll find 14 regions, including Boston, MA & NH, Madison, WI, Raleigh-Durham, NC, Trenton, NJ, and Washington DC/MD/VA.

Comforting Regions: High knowledge about mental health; low knowledge about engineering and production. Look for 29 areas, including Amarillo, TX, Las Vegas, NV, Quebec City, QC, Springfield-Holyoke-Chicopee, MA, and Pueblo, CO.

So, should these descriptions of regional economic identity influence your career management plan?  How can you use this data to more efficiently target your skills, abilities, and knowledge to meet the needs of your local labor market?