Which Trend is Your Community Experiencing?


Fourth Economy Consulting has turned five and has topped over 200 client engagements in that short period.  And by engagements, I mean that we have had the great fortune to partner with community leaders all over the country as they work to strengthen their organizations and communities. This experience has provided me with yes you guessed it, five notable trends that I wanted to share with you.  Continue reading “Which Trend is Your Community Experiencing?”

Cultural diversity in the “fourth economy”


Building the “fourth economy” is all about combining traditional economic development tools with creative solutions to ever-evolving challenges.   The Fourth Economy Index is our framework for thinking about what sets communities and regions up for success: investment, talent, sustainability, place, and diversity.

Elements of these indicators came up again and again throughout three “21st Century Cities and Global Leadership” discussions at the recent Thrival Festival, focusing on questions like what might attract and retain talent in Pittsburgh and how to ensure that economic growth is sustainable.  And while diversity can mean many different things (and does as a metric in the Fourth Economy Index), one element of diversity that had an undeniable presence throughout the discussion was cultural diversity. Continue reading “Cultural diversity in the “fourth economy””

New Team Member Spotlight: Jason Bernard

Bernard-WelcomeFourth Economy Consulting is pleased to introduce the newest member of our team: Jason Bernard, our Director, Emerging Partnerships.

Jason brings to the table over a decade of experience as a strategic planner, facilitator and business developer. He spent that time leading strategic planning retreats, focus groups and workshops for clients in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors. At Fourth Economy, he will focus his energy on advancing the Water Economy Network and assisting our team with the facilitation and management of client projects.

Jason lives in the Brighton Heights section of Pittsburgh’s North Side with his wife and their three month old baby girl. In what little free time he has left, he enjoys taking his dog to the dog park, shooting pool and irrationally obsessing over his favorite sports teams. An occasional actor, Jason has been seen on a number of local stages, commercials, and the silver screen.

Fourth Economy Helps Launch North Dakota-Minnesota Regional Action Plan

Valley-Prosperity-Partnership6 Key Priorities Shape the Economic Development Agenda

Regional industry, especially homegrown industry, must be an integral stakeholder in the development of strong and effective regional economic development partnerships. It cannot be said enough. This was emphasized once again in Fourth Economy’s recent engagement with our friends from the Red River Valley in North Dakota and Minnesota.

By far the Valley Prosperity Partnership (VPP) is one of the strongest industry-led efforts we have seen, both in terms of time and money.  In addition to industry, it included two of the region’s regional economic development organizations and, oh yeah, two states.  For those who have worked in regional efforts like this, you know it is no small task. Continue reading “Fourth Economy Helps Launch North Dakota-Minnesota Regional Action Plan”

Fourth Economy Helps Advance University Economic Development Association (UEDA) Mission and Impact

By now we all know that talent, innovation and quality place-based strategies are at the heart of the fourth economy.  Earlier this year, the Fourth Economy team was hired by the University Economic Development Association (UEDA) to help the organization advance its strategic mission – a mission to leverage higher education and enhance our national competitiveness.

Our first year efforts culminated in one of the largest Annual Summit’s since the organization’s founding.  More than 175 delegates convened in Chattanooga, Tennessee in October for the three-day conference.

“There has never been a more important time for this delegation to convene than now,” said William Michalerya, UEDA President. “In the next few weeks, there will be a national election and regardless of the outcome, there will be a renewed discussion and interest in how best our Country should leverage its innovation assets and make key investments in those resources,” Michalerya added. Continue reading “Fourth Economy Helps Advance University Economic Development Association (UEDA) Mission and Impact”

The Role of the Intermediary: Critical Infrastructure in the Fourth Economy

They take many names and structures: Collaboratives, Alliances, Councils, Initiatives, Partnerships.  Whatever their name, economic development intermediary efforts across the country are effectively uniting diverse organizations, people, skill sets, and geographies around common community and economic development goals.

These modern assemblies are reflective of the fourth economy.  They are nimble, take shape quickly, utilize social media and are open to information sharing.  They recognize the challenge that in our global and dynamic market economy – no single organization can possibly have all of the resources and knowledge to address a region’s community and economic development objectives.  We must work together, find where organizational missions intersect and then contribute a slice of time and resources to achieve a larger goal.

Continue reading “The Role of the Intermediary: Critical Infrastructure in the Fourth Economy”