Look outside the beltway to find America’s economic innovators
The Capitol Beltway.
November 10th, 2011
03:55 PM ET

Look outside the beltway to find America’s economic innovators

Editor's Note:Bruce Katz is the vice president and founding director of the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution (follow him on Twitter @bruce_katz). Judith Rodin is the president of the Rockefeller Foundation (follow them on Twitter @foundationrock.) Who do you think is an economic innovator? Join the conversation on Twitter #pragcaucus. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Bruce Katz and Judith Rodin.

By Bruce Katz and Judith Rodin - Special to CNN

With federal politics mired in gridlock and the economy stuck in neutral, Americans are hungry for new ways to drive economic growth, foster job creation, and restore prosperity. As Parag Khanna and David Skilling so aptly noted in their recent essay, “Big Ideas from Small Places,” these new approaches are most likely to emerge from “small countries, city-states, [and] city-regions” – places where innovation is the only option, where cooperation and collaboration rule the day.

Something similar is taking place in the United States, not at the national level, but in many of our states, cities and metropolitan areas. Cities and metros tend to concentrate creativity and innovation, two of our nation’s most important resources. It’s in these “small places” that 84% of Americans live and 91% of U.S. GDP is generated. It’s here that we see people taking on the tough challenges, finding new solutions to the seemingly intractable problems wrought by the sluggish economy. And it’s here that a pragmatic caucus of political, business, university and civic leaders is emerging to make the big plays necessary to grow jobs in the near term and retool metropolitan economies for the decades ahead.

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Topics: Economy • Jobs • United States