What does one of Cincinnati's smartest brains say about the region's biggest economic attractions?

"The Delta hub is our biggest asset, no question," Hall observes. "And we have a tremendous college population" to fuel the next generation of business.

"We've got the No. 1 marketing company in the country here: P&G," he adds quickly.

All this said, Hall suggests Greater Cincinnati would do well to not rest on its business accomplishments.

"Cincinnati was founded by people coming out here looking for the new frontier," Hall says. "We need people to rebirth that experience in business."

Meet Doug Hall for the first time, and you likely won't be impressed.

He's an average-looking, middle-aged guy (sorry, Doug) with a penchant for losing the tie-and-suit, in favor of wearing Hawaiian shirts and shorts. He works out of his house. And he's often found padding about barefoot.

Did we mention? Doug Hall earns $75,000 to $150,000 per day from his clients, a roster of corporate customers that includes Bank of America, Frito-Lay, Johnson & Johnson and Ford Motor Co. And, get this, all these high-powered clients willingly tramp to HIS door in Newtown, not vice versa.

It's a recent weekday, and top executives from an unnamed company are showing up from the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in rented stretch limos. (Hall, ever the gentleman, has reserved long, long parking spots in front of the mansion, with painted stripes 20 feet in length, purely for the convenience of such chauffer-driven clients.)

The executives will spend the day in exciting downtown Newtown, Ohio, at his Eureka! Ranch think tank, learning how to think creatively. How to brainstorm. And how, frankly, to let loose a bit and have fun while staying on the job.

For the benefit of the IRS 1040, Hall might be forced to list his occupation as corporate consultant. But his REAL job is invention. The invention of products. The invention of ideas. The invention of brainpower.

The 45-year-old worked for a decade as "master marketing inventor" (his actual title) at Procter & Gamble, and claims the average American household has 18 consumer products that he's helped develop.

Now his mission is to cultivate creativity where it might not have existed before, inside the brains of business executives.

"We've found ways to turn the art of innovation into a reliable science," explains Hall, by quantifying and measuring the processes to guarantee creativity on a reproducible basis.

If you recognize Doug Hall's name at all, it's likely because he is also a media personality, both locally and nationally. As host of Brain Brew, a countrywide weekly radio show airing in 26 cities on Public Radio International including WGUC-FM in Cincinnati, Hall brings his marketing religion to the ears of CEOs everywhere. The goal of the radio show, observes Hall, "is to help folks turn the American dream into reality."

Co-hosting the show is David Wecker of the Cincinnati Post, a frequent partner in Hall's corporate session work. Wecker remembers the days when Hall worked out of his basement: "It was 14 years ago, and Doug was still working for Procter.

"It's been a wild ride," laughs the columnist. "I've seen him go from a wacky guy in an elf suit to his more scientific approach. He's got vision. He thinks pretty far down the road."

Hall's background is varied. He earned a B.S. in chemical engineering at the University of Maine in 1981, and followed it up with an honorary doctorate of laws at University of Prince Edward Island in Canada last year. He's been on an expedition to the North Pole. And he may well be the only British lord in Greater Cincinnati (as the Lord of Threshfield).

Obtaining the English title, suggests Hall, involved "a huge fight to the death." Pause. "With my checkbook."

Hall says his favorite inventor, his favorite character from history, in fact, is Benjamin Franklin. One of Hall's related companies is named after Richard Saunders (Ben's alias as Poor Richard).

Hall's favorite Franklinism? "Up sluggard and waste not life."

Time to get serious. We ask the inventor, what does it take to invent?

"Courage. It's all about courage. You have to do something dramatically different, an idea that breaks the rules." Hall suggests that's not a mindset that comes easily to the average large company, even as opportunity knocks "” nay, slams "” against the firm's doors.

Hall pauses to gaze out at the lake directly behind the Eureka! mansion. "We own exclusive recreational rights to it," he says casually, as if every business owned the boating rights to a lake next door.

Hall is excited that he's in the process of finishing a new book, North Pole Tenderfoot, about his rookie expedition to the North Pole in 1999. He's already the author of Jump Start Your Business Brain and Meaningful Marketing (both under the F&W Publications imprint).

And, he's got a new program "” Jump Start Your Business "” that may capture the interest of small to mid-sized businesses in Cincinnati. Hall is devising a pilot program here in town for those firms that can't afford to drop $150,000 per session. Via his "trained brains," local firms will be able to bring in "” not Hall "” but the experts he's taught under license. The next best thing to being there, as the saying goes.

Hall's free advice to budding businesses? "Only one thing matters. You have to be unique. If you have something dramatically different than anybody else, you will have a high profit margin. And the thing that keeps most people from having a high profit margin is fear."