South Dakota has 830,000 spread over an enormous expanse. Known to the general population for Mount Rushmore and little else, you could be forgiven for not associating the state with “economic innovation.” Which is why their Enterprise Institute is such a world-class example for rural governments seeking to keep on the forefront of economic development. With the stated goal of building (not attracting) businesses and keeping its young talent, the Enterprise Institute provides angel investing, incubators and business services to South Dakotans looking to become successful entrepreneurs.
I was proud to provide a keynote and in-depth training on foresight methodologies at their Innovation Expo. While innovative thinking is supposed to be gathered on the coasts, I have rarely come across a group so rooted to its traditions and willing to think in truly creative ways about how to design their future economy to benefit a wide range of citizens.