Innovation Rio Blanco: It’s time to develop stable, sustainable local economies {Guest Column}

By Joe Livingston

Special to the Herald Times

RBC | As the world continues to undergo technological revolution, the impacts continue to accelerate. The technologies continue to open new opportunities. 3D printers, CNC machines, stem cell treatments, self-driving cars, cell phones, burger flipping robots are but a few of the new products. The challenge is many traditional jobs will disappear and individuals will have to continuously upgrade their knowledge and skills.

To maintain our businesses and grow local economies access to new information is critical. High-speed broadband makes it possible to learn from and connect with ideas and knowledge, all that is required is access to a broadband connection. You can learn what is being developed and reported around the world. Fortunately, Rio Blanco County is well on its way to having county-wide access to high speed service. Online information is available from life sciences, to augmented reality, to engineering and more.

Thanks to broadband, the county may move forward to build a strong, sustainable, locally based economy.  The new products make it possible for individuals and businesses to produce new products and services and sell them world-wide.  The county can attract visitors from near and far.

Please note this approach focuses on developing Rio Blanco County businesses and individuals, not importing businesses.

Where to start: Emphasize the county’s strengths.

Our guides and outfitters are as good as it gets.

– Our public-school system is well respected. We must find ways of increasing the funding available for them to recruit and retain high quality staff and to do their jobs.

– Our livestock business people know how to produce high quality products.

– Our “points of interest” and history makes for fascinating study and triggers imaginations.

– Our communities benefit from well managed and run special events.

Think Innovation:

– Support the development of new locally owned businesses and encourage entrepreneurs to develop new ideas and products.

– Protect our outdoor businesses from the introduction of wolves.

– Work to develop financing for locally based startups and entrepreneurs.

– Develop and fund affordable system for access to high quality lifelong education and training.

– Make use of RBC’s Broadband to promote Rio Blanco County products and services

– Advertise Rio Blanco County historical and unique geological features and points of interest to attract visitors.

– Develop access to and interaction between local individuals and businesses with educational and R&D institutions to aid in idea development and product design.

– Develop additional special events that target “shoulder seasons,” fit the communities’ ability to handle the crowds and encourages attendees to stay in towns.

– Provide help to business and individuals to successfully market and sell their products online.

Rio Blanco County’s people hold the power to create opportunities.

Broadband opens the world of commerce to our businesses and individuals.