Business development expert Richard Florida discussed the patterns in U.S. history that drive our economy and society, and how the country is heading into a reset or reshaping of the way we live and work. One of the current problems is that there are over 60 million people working at low-wage jobs such as in the service industry. We need to apply the principles of quality management and high performance to these jobs and make them more productive and efficient, and thus better paying, he suggested.
In the next five years, Florida sees the opportunity for society to do things differently, such as find new forms of infrastructure that "speed the movement of people, goods, and ideas," and reinvent the education system to encourage children to be inventive and entrepreneurial. He also argued that housing be rethought, with less emphasis on home ownership, and more on affordable rentals.
Regarding work, Florida believes people should determine what they really love or are passionate about and then figure out a way to do it as an enterprise. "It may start slow, it may take awhile to develop, but I think more and more Americans realize...that the best thing you can do is create something of your own," he said. Interestingly, he noted that while new ideas and technology are important, execution and management tend to trump them in terms of getting a new business enterprise off the ground.
The Happiness Gene
In the last hour, researcher Dr. Laurie Nadel and author James D. Baird talked about the "happiness gene." The new science of epigenetics suggests that people can use their minds to turn on and off certain genes, said Baird. "There is a biological basis for us to be happy," and our environment and thoughts affect our genes, Nadel outlined. The two have put together a 28-day plan for people to change habits and become more happy, which involves relaxation exercises, and "rebooting your internal environment."