Distributed Economic Development training on HSTalks

I’m excited to announce that my training video “Distributed Teams As Distributed Economic Development” is now available in “The Business and Management Collection” from Henry Stewart Talks. If you care about the economy of your jurisdiction or community, I think you’ll find this video to be immediately practical and helpful.

Since COVID-19 hit, the large scale shift to “WFH” / “Remote work” has changed the economies of many jurisdictions (in good and not-so-good ways). This shift is now getting lots of media coverage, which is new – even though dealing with these changing economic realities for jurisdictions is not new.

Traditional Economic Development is when you give incentives to corporations so they will relocate to your jurisdiction and bring jobs with them. While this worked well in the past, it has become less and less effective over the last few decades. The last few years have rapidly accelerated this trend. Large corporations know how valuable they are, so now jurisdictions have to bid against each other to attract the relocating corporation with larger and larger incentives (usually money or money-like tax breaks). And when one corporation employs the majority of the workforce in your jurisdiction, everyone is impacted if that corporation is lured away elsewhere. Changes in social contract and corporate tax handling further complicate this situation.

What if there was another way? What if you gave incentives to humans not corporations?

I asked this question during testimony sessions with the State of Vermont Senate in 2017 and 2018 as we worked towards what became Vermont’s “Remote Worker” Law. After this bill was signed into law in June 2018, it was wildly successful, and this Distributed Economic Development model is now being used by multiple jurisdictions in the US and internationally.

As more people work in Distributed Teams, encouraging people to move to your jurisdiction, bringing their own *existing* job with them has become a popular alternative to Traditional Economic Development. This Distributed Economic Development has some significant benefits, but requires careful attention to many subtle details to succeed. I first described these details in my book “Distributed Teams” (2018, 2021) and this training video is another step to help jurisdictions do this well. After watching this video, if you still have any questions on how Distributed Economic Development would be helpful to your community or jurisdiction, please do let me know.

This training series includes other experienced long term “remote work” advocates and researchers like: Kate Lister, Rowena Hennigan, Pilar Orti and Lisette Sutherland. Over the years, I’ve enjoyed collaborating with each of these fine humans, so I recommend watching their videos (and listening to their podcasts) too!

Lastly, I want to thank Nacho Rodríguez, Aaron Bolzle and Gonçalo Hall for the many brainstorming sessions and lively discussions over the years. And of course, special thanks go to Rowena Hennigan and Gal Lahav for creating the vision for this entire video series before COVID-19 hit in early 2020 and having the tenacity to make this vision become reality despite the turbulence of the last few years.