At the most basic level, Johnathan Holifield thinks the key to a successful, vibrant, inclusive, economy that works for all America comes down to a single word: Competition.
“The nation faces a choice as to the kind of economy it will accept,” he said. “Will we have an economy of incumbent, limited competitiveness or travel the harder, just road seeking Inclusive Competitiveness?”
Holifield is Co-Founder of ScaleUp Partners, a national consultancy that has worked to foster collaboration in every region of the country over the past four years. The former NFL running back, attorney, civil rights advocate and business leader from Ohio is also the architect of Inclusive Competitiveness, a trademarked approach of interdisciplinary policies, strategies, practices and metrics to improve the performance of underrepresented Americans within the innovation economy.
Holifield’s book, The Future Economy and Inclusive Competitiveness, will release this fall. The strategy has made an impact in Ohio, where a policy report using Inclusive Competitiveness was unanimously adopted by the Ohio Board of Regents in the fall of 2014.
But despite this comprehensive, multi-disciplinary approach to inclusion, the premise remains imminently relatable. Teach underserved areas the rules of the 21st century economic game, blow the whistle and let the game begin.
“Every American must have a fair opportunity to compete and succeed in the innovation economy,” he said.
People living in disaffected communities can’t compete if they don’t know the rules and can’t get on the playing field. But they also need to focus their talents and plans for the future on what it takes to succeed. Holifield foster both fairness and focus.
“It’s time for us to catalyze an Inclusive Competitiveness Movement,” Holifield said.
Holifield will take his message to the National Association of Black Journalists and National Association of Hispanic Journalists combined convention on Aug. 3 in Washington, D.C. In the #InclusiveAmerica Learning Lab, Holifield will urge journalists to capture the true portrait of the economic landscape in America, one that creates an uneven playing field. A new narrative of inclusion will help solutions like Inclusive Competitiveness to emerge, he says.