This blog has been on hold for 18 months as I have transitioned from Atlanta to Hoboken, the sixth borough of New York City. I retired from Georgia Institute of Technology and am now on the faculty of Stevens Institute of Technology. I am still immersed in enterprise transformation, focused on healthcare delivery, higher education and, in my new context, urban resilience.
The change of context has been amazing, the primary reason this blog has been on hold. Greater New York City is a very large highly diversified economy with over 20 million people. Atlanta is large as well (6 million people), but the economy revolves around being the Southeast’s supply chain and logistics hub, as well as real estate development. New York City rivals Silicon Valley in terms of technology-oriented venture capital, while Atlanta is well outside the top ten cities for technology investments.
So, it has taken me awhile to get my feet fully on the ground in New York City and its surrounds. Opportunities abound and corporate headquarters dot the landscape. Mastering the train, subway, and bus system has been an important task. One benefit has been a dramatic reduction in plane trips. The pleasure of hopping on the train to Washington at the last minute was, at first at least, immeasurable. Changing reservations just minutes before leaving, with no penalties, continues to be a pleasure.
Another difference has been the food. As a vegetarian, the more ethnic restaurants the better, particularly Italian as well as Asian. Pizza in New York is a different experience than Atlanta. Bakeries are much more pervasive. Pubs of every make and model are on most corners, although their appetites for college football are quite limited. However, with two professional baseball, basketball and football teams, as well as three hockey teams and a soccer team, pubs are crowded with fans during game times.
I am a bit of a history buff and I have broadened my view of the Northeast beyond Boston (my roots) to include greater New York City. The technological innovations here from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries are most impressive, making Silicon Valley a “Johnny come lately” in the late 1930s and the Route 128 “Massachusetts Miracle” a very recent arrival in the early 1950s. Stanford and MIT enjoy the applause for their association with these upstarts. New York is much less interested in applause. Power and money seem to be the dominant goals.
My plan is to continue Rouse on Transformation in the spirit with which it started in 2009. The geographical footprint will be larger and the range of examples broader, e.g., including urban resilience. However, the goal is the same – understanding fundamental change of complex organizational systems.