As our series Three Things continues, Michigan Radio’s Morning Edition host Christina Shockley speaks with Rick DeVos, founder of ArtPrize. DeVos speaks about what three things he thinks we can all do to help improve the state.
Not surprisingly, the founder of ArtPrize begins by urging Michiganders to celebrate creativity. But beyond just attending theatrical performances and making trips to museums, DeVos wants Michigan residents to embrace and support creative and innovative businesses, as well. DeVos says, “We need to support people in creative pursuits, be that art, design, starting businesses… That’s where growth comes from.”
For his second idea, Mr. DeVos asks Michiganders to “think big by thinking smaller.” DeVos says that, in the past, Michigan has tended to look for progress though monolithic institutions and ideas that would transform the state. “I think the future of our state is not one company employing thousands and thousands of people,” says DeVos, “it’s thousands of companies employing a few people each. It’s much more distributed. It’s much more grassroots.”
Mr. DeVos’s final idea is to change the way we think about failure in Michigan. “We have a tendency sometimes to stigmatize people who have failed in business or in creative endeavors,” says DeVos, adding, “We need to start looking at failure as part of the learning process.”
Regarding how his ideas can help Michigan, DeVos says his suggestions only work to create an atmosphere that supports long-term growth. He says, “By thinking about things on a smaller sort of scale, you can see some really great benefits at that scale. But, as far as systemically, I don’t know what to say about 2010.”
A statewide recovery will take time, but DeVos sees the potential for big benefits in individuals narrowing their focus. “The state is an incredibly diverse ecosystem,” says Mr. DeVos, “I think we need to all think about what we can do to create the best sort of microclimates within it.”