You may have missed the news out of Indiana two weeks ago – no it wasn’t about that – it was the news that Indiana became the first state in the country to launch an economic development initiative focused on Quality of Place. This effort called the Indiana Regional Cities Initiative and now supported by $84 million, is an opportunity for Indiana’s regional communities to rally together to define what they can accomplish to enhance their communities. The visionary leadership of Indiana Governor Pence and Eric Doden, former President of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, drove the creation of this initiative and it will pay dividends to Indiana’s communities for years to come. Continue reading “Four Ingredients that Led to $84 Million and a Shared Vision for Indiana”
6 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”
One of the most influential and widely pursued theories in economic development has been the use of industry clusters, or simply clusters, to focus services in a regional economy. This approach allows communities to consider the needs of interconnected firms and define a focus. What it fails to do though is to contemplate potential impacts on these clusters, both positive and negative, by market dynamics. As a result, the practice of using industry clusters as an economic development strategy is an approach that has run its course.
The Fourth Economy team has long been involved in developing and implementing cluster strategies and we have come to appreciate the advantages and disadvantages of the cluster approach. Along the way, we have developed methods, tools, and best practices that we believe can help regions to more effectively leverage their potential for economic prosperity. In this article, we first review the pros and cons of clusters and then discuss a modern approach that we call Market Opportunity Networks, which retains the advantages of clusters and reduces the disadvantages. Since 2006 members of the Fourth Economy team have been developing this methodology and demonstrated success with a number of clients. Continue reading “Market Opportunity Networks: Advancing Economic Development Strategy”
This Friday I will be taking my maiden voyage across the Atlantic Ocean – heading to South Korea for a month of cultural and vocational learning. The trip is sponsored by the Rotary Group Study Exchange (GSE) program, which provides opportunities for young professionals to increase their knowledge of and connections to the global workplace. The Pittsburgh Rotary District 7300 is sponsoring our trip to South Korea, with a focus on green building and sustainable development.
While we continue to develop this idea, we asked you to provide your confidence level in some broad economic categories. These categories impact areas of the Fourth Economy Index. As you can see from the image above, the overall confidence level in our economic state is less confident, or neutral, than confident in where the economy is heading. There doesn’t appear to be much that we are “very confident” about. Let’s examine how we determined this overall confidence level… Here are the broad categories we asked about… As you can see, the areas of most confidence include the U.S. economy, private sector leadership and innovation investment. The remaining four categories lagged behind greatly, with our educational system having the least amount of backing, considering all neutral attributes. We also asked you to tell us what other economic categories we should measure. The responses were great and included: environmental protection, workforce capacity/ability, collaboration, access to capital, natural resources, U.S. utility patents issued, U.S. technologies licensed, U.S. new high tech products introduced, U.S. R&D investment in technologies, State investments in TBED activities, U.S. manufacturing sales, U.S. exports, U.S. manufacturing jobs created, ROI on federal R&D investment, private funding of tech-based companies, job growth in tech-based sectors, and new ratios such as energy per dollar and productivity in manufacturing sectors. What else should we be measuring to determine the overall state of our Fourth Economy? Use the comments below… Take this month’s poll: Rank the top energy innovations in the last 100 years…