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Are You Writing With Invisible Ink?

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November 20, 2019

Perhaps only Inspector Gadget can reveal the answer!  But, seriously, you might remember the lemon juice disappearing ink experiment from science class or the ever-popular spy kits which always seemed to contain black light pens marketed as “invisible ink”.

While nostalgic and light-hearted, the underlying purpose behind these activities was to intentionally exclude important information from others by using cloaking devices or “secret” means of communication.

Indeed, this attraction to invisibility persists in the professional world. Yet, there, it exists in different forms. So this week, we’re exploring the question: how might we make the invisible visible?

At this week’s Florida Priorities Summit, leaders from across the state wrestled with this very task:  to articulate and elevate critical issues of concern that might otherwise remain hidden from upcoming legislative policy agendas.  While the pressing issues were catalogued by economy, education, housing, transportation to environmental, these topical areas offer entrepreneurial leaders insights into several invisible opportunities:

The Invisible Economy

Entrepreneurship is a foundational to our local economy. Indeed, startups are currently the largest producer of net new jobs nationally, we often overlook the behemoth contributing advantage found in the arts and creative industries. 

In the fast-approaching eclipse of Art Basel, we may not realize that the arts is a substantial economic driver, contributing more than $800 billion to the U.S. economy and representing 4.2 percent of GDP.  This, according to recent findings on the economic impact of the arts, breaks down into a $20 billion trade surplus, lead by movies and TV programs as well as adding 4x more to the U.S. economy than the agricultural sector and $200 billion more than transportation or warehousing. 

vertically align bar chart demonstrating value added to US GDP by sector for 2016 in billions.  emphasis on Arts and Culture as adding $804.2 BN

Given that Miami ranks 24th among large U.S. metros on its share of arts, media, and design workers at 3 percent larger than the national average, we’re asking how are we meaningfully integrating the creative industry into our #startup community?   We’ve got some exciting things in store for 2020, but join the conversation on 12/5 at our #VCMTakeover – Arts Edition in partnerships with Creators Lounge and others.

If I Had $12 Trillion Dollars

A slight uptick from the original Barenaked Ladies aspirational ballad, this amount represents the lowest estimate of extra growth and savings available to business and industry if we meet the United Nations Sustainable Development by 2030, according to the Business and Sustainable Development Commission.  

chart of 60 biggest market opportunities related to delivering the Global Goals

When it comes to climate change, Miamians don’t need video games or VR simulations to appreciate our proximity to the massive problem. While the SDGs should be a starting point rather than an afterthought, the above SROI (social return on investment) analysis highlights the power of making business and policy decisions grounded in sustainability, resilience, affordability and equity. 

So we’re curious: how are you incorporating the SDGs into your operational or impact strategy? Be on the lookout for more forums to share SDG implementation ideas and best practices in the coming year.


Culture is an interesting bridge between community and industry.  CultureTrack 2017, though focused principally on the arts and cultural institutions, provides a telling picture of the impact of shifting power movements and micro-communities using an unconventional set of indicators, like loyalty.  This study observed:

The motivators for loyalty go far beyond the economic and the transactional. Instead, audiences view their loyalty to an organization as a personal relationship: and their ideal partner is trustworthy, consistent, and kind. Importantly, audiences value not only how organizations treat them, but also how they impact the rest of the world.

It should come as no surprise then that the top 3 loyalty motivators were: 61% trustworthiness (61%), consistent quality (57%), and customer service (55%).  In contrast, the least important loyal factors included: advertising (13%), social media (15%), followed by a tie among content products  and shared values (41%).  In part to gather feedback on how to improve your #VCMConnects community experience, we wonder: how are building a culture of loyalty?

When we take the time to uncover the invisible, we see that creativity, sustainability and loyalty are all essential ingredients for a thriving economic environment both within business settings and beyond.


Leigh-Ann Buchanan / Venture Cafe Miami

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