The Director’s Log: June 2017

On Fireworks, BHAG’s, and Your Big Ideas

Thanks so much to those of you who wrote in response to last month’s “Director’s Log” on “Rediscovering North Carolinianism” (yes, in answer to some of your questions, I know that’s not a word – but it should be!).

Your comments helped convince us it is time to start a party – and you’re invited. This one is a virtual party, and it’s BYOI (Bring Your Own Idea). We are fully committed to continuing our work on kidonomics, and will have much more info on that next month, but we want to start the process now of finding the next Big Idea, and we believe one of you (maybe more than one) has it.

Because it is a virtual party, you can send it from anywhere. You can send us a short idea or a long idea. It could be a breakthrough innovation (think about the idea for the first firecracker), or Big, Hairy and Audacious, or it could be incremental and innovative (think about the first person to figure out how to do a spider firework). But it has to have something that will make North Carolina a better place to live and work.

So while you are lounging at the beach, hiking at the mountains, or taking a break at work, send us your idea (highlights in June’s Digest, and full details at

Meanwhile, back at the ranch (okay, the Hunt Library), there’s a lot of stuff going on. Elsewhere in the June Digest:

  • You’ll find out how you can use our exciting new InnovateNC Community Innovation Asset Map, which, with the help of RTI International, the N.C. Commerce Office of Science, Technology and Innovation, and other partners, we are making available to communities across the state. Congratulations to Sarah Langer Hall on the launch!
  • You’ll get an update on the work of Maggie Woods and John-Paul Smith in convening our Service Year Accelerator, our pilot effort to help communities increase the number of people giving a year of service. This is an idea whose time has come (see this argument from retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal on why) and we are glad to be helping lead this effort in our state.
  • There is good news in this week’s proposed state budget deal on expansion of spots for North Carolina Pre-K (funding that could reduce the current waitlist for spots by 75%), and this month Pat Cronin updates us on a recent discussion of new strategies to improve early childhood education.
  • Finally, we encourage you to try out our ever-evolving podcast. In the past four weeks, we’ve talked with Economic Leadership Managing Partner Ted Abernathy, Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust President Laura Gerald, Wilson Chief Planner Rodger Lentz and Charlotte Reads CEO Munro Richardson, with even more available through UNC-TV’s North Carolina Channel! Take a listen, and maybe something they say will inspire your BIG IDEA!

Happy Summer,