What Is Not Being Addressed that Will Kill Your Economic Development Strategy

BooksforBlogAt this point I think we are all familiar with the struggles facing Detroit Public Schools, at least on the surface: mushrooms growing in schools, teacher strikes, financial crisis. However, as detailed by this incredibly thorough and thoughtful report by LOVELAND Technologies, 200 years worth of poor decision-making led Detroit to where it is today. This speaks to the need for a new approach to public accountability in our education system. Recognizing the critical role of public education to economic development, in Nashville, it has been the Chamber that has been stepping up to provide that platform for accountability by conducting annual holistic assessments and concrete recommendations for improvement. Continue reading “What Is Not Being Addressed that Will Kill Your Economic Development Strategy”

Trends in Town-Gown Collaboration

Trending-Town-GownToday’s economy elevates the value of higher education institutions to the highest degree of public awareness ever demonstrated. Higher education institutions impact their community in a host of very obvious ways, such as:

  • Supporting the development of 21st century talent armed with skills to drive modern business;
  • Employing a range of professionals in a sector often recognized as the largest in many small communities;
  • and Initiating research and development initiatives supporting the advancement of technology and improved economic performance.

These examples speak to the common ways nearly every institution engages. Yet, what does it mean for a campus to be truly connected to its community? Continue reading “Trends in Town-Gown Collaboration”

9 Themes Identified in Transformed Regional Cities

141106-Transformative-Cities

After hundreds of hours speaking with the leaders of America’s transformed cities, analyzing data until our eyes crossed and summarizing all of our findings in an action oriented report, I am ready to provide you with the cliff notes. To summarize,  we found that there are nine key themes to consider if you are looking to transform your community.

But first… Continue reading “9 Themes Identified in Transformed Regional Cities”

Too Cool for School? Think Again.

141103-Higher-Ed-UEDAFourth Economy has been immersed this year in conversations about higher education’s role in economic development. Over the summer we worked with a major research university to identify ways for improving their business engagement practices. This effort involved hosting a roundtable discussion with university-based economic development practitioners from around the country.

In October, Fourth Economy team members managed the 2014 University Economic Development Association (UEDA) Summit in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which brought together more than 230 economic development representatives from higher education, economic development organizations, consulting firms, federal agencies, and many other groups (you can view the agenda and presentations here). Conference participants shared and discussed best practices, including initial thought leadership from UEDA’s Body of Knowledge Committee, developed in conjunction with representatives from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU). Continue reading “Too Cool for School? Think Again.”

Higher Eds use Economic Impact Studies for what?!

University-Economic-Impact-StudyThe answer is Higher Eds use economic and social impact studies for a lot of different reasons. Underlying is the desire to showcase their good work and demonstrate the value their work creates. And they want to communicate that value in terms that will resonate with internal and external audiences.  Audiences may include: public officials, policy makers, community residents, investors, and Higher Ed faculty, staff, students and alumni. Economic and social impact studies help Higher Eds compete for state funding, maintain their tax-exempt status, help defend against criticism and help increase fund-raising. Continue reading “Higher Eds use Economic Impact Studies for what?!”

Declining Higher Ed R&D Expenditures: A Crisis or an Opportunity?

131220-University-RD-BudgetA recent National Science Foundation (NSF) report revealed that R&D expenditures among U.S. higher education institutions remained flat in FY2012 compared to FY2011, and, when adjusted for inflation, declined by 1.1 percent. “This represents the first constant-dollar decline since 1974 and ends a period of modest growth during FYs 2009–11, when R&D expenditures increased an average of 5% each year.”

While this statistic is newsworthy, it may not be as much of a crisis as it first seems. Continue reading “Declining Higher Ed R&D Expenditures: A Crisis or an Opportunity?”

Small Towns, Great Gowns, Big Opportunities

131024-Town-GownIn recent months our Fourth Economy team has been hard at work on several town-gown development projects.  It’s time to share a few lessons learned.  First, if you live in a smaller town and are fortunate enough to have an institution of higher education close by, don’t squander the opportunity to build upon this high value asset – embrace it, leverage it, and cultivate it.

While the many positives associated with town-gown partnerships may be obvious to most of us, surprisingly those positives often need to be clearly identified, communicated and tactically acted upon. Continue reading “Small Towns, Great Gowns, Big Opportunities”

School Days in the Fourth Economy

131023-Higher-EducationIt seems to be college and university season in the Fourth Economy Consulting offices. We have recently welcomed two new staffers to our team with strong roots in working with higher education. In the past few weeks Ali Mabel joined our team as Director of Innovation Strategies. Ali comes to us by way of the University of Illinois where she was Program Coordinator at the Research Park. Prior to that she managed client engagements for Ernst and Young supporting finance and supply chain processes. This mix of private and university experience is a terrific fit with the rest of the team’s skill sets.

Shortly before that Susan Fisher  joined us as a Research Analyst and brings to our team  her expertise in linear cash flow analysis and her extensive experience conducting complex quantitative and qualitative research, analysis and reporting to health care and higher education projects. Susan adds a depth to our research capabilities that we were looking for and now makes our research capabilities unrivaled in our market. Continue reading “School Days in the Fourth Economy”

Witnessing Collaboration Across the Nation

131022-Regional-CollaborationRight now, Fourth Economy is fortunate enough to be working in two communities on private sector-led regional economic development. The first is a group of self-organized group of private sector and higher education leader in the Red River Valley of North Dakota and Minnesota (the major metropolitan areas are Fargo-Moorhead and Grand Forks-East Grand Forks).  This group known as the Valley Prosperity Partnership is looking in to identify regional economic security interests and leverage the booming energy economy in Western North Dakota. The second community involves a group of private sector stakeholders convened by the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation and the Rhode Island Foundation to inform both the Statewide Sustainable Communities planning and the work of the sponsoring organizations. Continue reading “Witnessing Collaboration Across the Nation”

Best Practices for the Fourth Economy – University Economic Development Association (UEDA) Announces 2012 Awards of Excellence Winners

Effectively engaging higher education resources for community is economic development is critical to success in 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.

UEDA announced its 2012 Awards of Excellence winners during its Annual Summit held this October in Chattanooga, Tennessee.   The Awards of Excellence Program recognizes UEDA members who are transforming their campuses into engines of economic prosperity through leading edge initiatives in five categories: 1) Community Connected Campus: initiatives that promote the physical development of quality connected campuses and their surrounding communities; 2) Research and Analysis:  initiatives that enhance the capacity of colleges and universities to provide new forms of research and tools for community, economic and workforce development practitioners; 3) Leadership and Collaboration: initiatives that support the development of collaborative economic development strategies and the leaders required to implement them; 4) Innovation and Entrepreneurship: initiatives designed to support startups, high-growth companies and clusters within a region; and 5) Talent Development: initiatives that promote the development of 21st-century skills.  Continue reading “Best Practices for the Fourth Economy – University Economic Development Association (UEDA) Announces 2012 Awards of Excellence Winners”