As of February 1, 2017, the Strategic Innovation Lab has completed its project phase at the Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit and Case Western Reserve University. An update can be found below.

The Strategic Innovation Lab, a project of the Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit at the Weatherhead School of Management has completed its mission.

In July 2009, then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, ADM Mike Mullen, directed Navy Captain Wayne Porter and Marine Corps Colonel Mark “Puck” Mykleby to develop a grand strategic concept for the nation. Their resultant white paper, “A National Strategic Narrative,” posited that sustainability needs to become our nation’s 21st century strategic imperative. After retiring from the Marine Corps in 2011, Mykleby teamed up with Patrick Doherty at the New America Foundation in Washington, DC to expand upon the grand strategy work that was started in the Pentagon. In early 2013, the White House asked SIL co-Founders Col. Mark “Puck” Mykleby (USMC-Ret) and Mr. Patrick Doherty to take their white paper on grand strategy and do two big things: go deeper and broader, and articulate an implementation plan that would build the necessary support in the country to succeed. With the generous financial support of Chuck and Char Fowler and Joe Kanfer and Marcella Kanfer Rolnick, they were able to do that.

The New Grand Strategy. After months of in-depth research, in June of 2016, St. Martin’s Press published, The New Grand Strategy: Restoring Prosperity, Security, and Sustainability in the 21st Century by Mykleby, Doherty and Mr. Joel Makower, Chairman of GreenBiz Group. ADM Mike Mullen said of the book, “Our nation needs a new grand strategy and this is it.” This book offers an in-depth approach to U.S. grand strategy that takes the best of progressive and conservative ideas and illustrates how business can lead the country into a new strategic era focused on driving sustainable prosperity and security. For more information please visit: https://thenewgrandstrategy.com/

Long Haul Capital Group. In that book, the authors assert that business could begin implementing the grand strategy if a new type of investment firm could unite underutilized capital and pent up demand. So, in May of 2016, they co-founded Long Haul Capital Group to do just that. Specifically, Long Haul Capital Group will deliver attractive returns and strategic impact by financing walkable communities. In the process, Long Haul Capital Group is defining a new category, the Strategic Impact Enterprise, whose purpose is to direct capital into long-term infrastructure and other investments that provide the foundation for sustainable, long-term growth. For more information please visit: https://www.longhaulcapital.com

Like any lab, SIL tested a number of other hypotheses, such as:

  • The Glenville Project. The Glenville Project continues in partnership between Long Haul Capital Group and the Famicos Foundation. The project seeks to use EcoDistrict principles to drive economic development while avoiding the scourge of gentrification in one of the most challenged neighborhoods in Cleveland. For more information please visit: http://myglenville.com/vote/
  • The Lake Erie Cluster. The Lake Erie Crescent project was an effort to bring the industrial cities of the western basin of Lake Erie into an Appreciative Inquiry about how the region could accelerate and shape a successful transition to a sustainable American Dream. We concluded that such an effort could succeed if the cities saw a clear and short path to direct investment and new jobs.
  • The Advanced Material Development Group. One of the key insights found in The New Grand Strategy is that oil and gas are key to solving the challenge of climate change. However, the solution lies in using oil and gas hydrocarbons to produce advanced polymeric materials to reduce the embodied energy of the planet’s material palette. For Northeast Ohio, the nation’s #1 producer of polymer products and components, this is a massive strategic opportunity.
  • The Economic Strategy Task Force/Long Term Growth Project. For the nation to succeed in pivoting to a new grand strategy, CEOs will need to understand the business models and sources of capital behind them. The Long Term Growth Project sought to convene business leaders to begin that conversation. We concluded that this kind of conversation also needed to be incentivized by clear financial opportunities and in advance of Long Haul Capital Group, such a conversation was impossible to pull off for all but the biggest asset managers.

Many thanks to all the colleagues, businesses, NGOs, officials, and citizens who helped us make the Strategic Innovation Lab a success.