Seattle's Competitiveness in the Global Innovation Economy

Last Thursday, Product Creation Studio sponsored and attended the 2018 MOHAI Innovation Breakfast in which the former governor and CEO of Challenge Seattle, Christine Gregoire took the stage as the keynote speaker. 

With Seattle's recent head tax having been signed into law last week, the former Governor did not hold back when it came to her opinion on the topic. “I object to the policy of a head tax,” Gregoire said during an on-stage discussion with MOHAI Executive Director Leonard Garfield. “I firmly believe it is a tax on jobs. I firmly believe it undermines our international and national reputation.”

The former Governor's strong opinions didn't stop there, she thinks we are too humble as well. In fact, Gregoire spends a lot of time thinking about Seattle’s competitiveness in the global economy.

Seattle is the birthplace of the modern aviation industry, medical ultrasound, sonic toothbrushes, automatic defibrillation and dialysis. Starbucks commoditized coffee culture. Amazon and Costco rewrote the book on retail. Seattle has changed the world yet we are known globally for the movie “Sleepless in Seattle.”

With Gregoire at the helm, one of Challenge Seattle’s top goals is to “tell the Seattle story”, one that depicts a thriving and globally competitive region in a variety of aspects.

Her larger point, however, is that Seattle needs to do a better job of touting its innovative companies and entrepreneurs. At a 2017 workshop, Gregoire referenced an in-depth study conducted by Challenge Seattle that revealed even Americans aren't aware Seattle is the birthplace to corporations like Starbucks, Costco, and Amazon.

The story of our region is one of innovation, technology, and collaboration,” Gregoire explained. “It is a story we believe must be told and one that must continue to define us. It is one that must be shared and learned from every other city across this nation. Working together, we believe technology and innovation is a future that is very bright for us in this region and us in this nation.”

 CTO and Co-founder, Scott Thielman, serves as the Featured Innovator at a table of guests for the 2018 MOHAI Innovation Breakfast.

CTO and Co-founder, Scott Thielman, serves as the Featured Innovator at a table of guests for the 2018 MOHAI Innovation Breakfast.