Creating Impactful Organizations

“If you are not moving forward, you are standing still.” That old saying has never been more true. Competitive organizations and businesses must constantly reinvent themselves and their services to remain competitive.

First, that means having access to and being able to interpret the best market data, public policies, and resources. Beyond that, you must be able to create the strategy, tactics, communications, and approach to maximize your impact and carry your plan forward.

Fourth Economy helps create impactful organizations by:

  • Engaging your board in determining the organization’s direction
  • Building consensus within your community
  • Utilizing market analysis for informed decision-making
  • Developing initiatives with defined impact
  • Leading organizations through an iterative and creative planning process

Here are some of the ways that Fourth Economy has helped to create impactful organizations:

Reinventing a Community Development Intermediary

Given significant changes in Pittsburgh’s community development ecosystem, Neighborhood Allies, the city’s primary community development intermediary decided to undergo a complete reinvention to better serve residents and community organizations. The board (comprised primarily of funders and foundation representatives) partnered with Fourth Economy to assist them in creating a new business plan to inform new programs and services, as well as staffing. Fourth Economy used national best practice research, extensive engagement with local stakeholders, analysis and mapping of local demographic data, and our understanding of local, state, and national funding opportunities to create a comprehensive business plan and financial model to re-launch the organization. Their website uses much of the language from the business plan and provides insight into the direction suggested by the plan.


Launching a New Center for Design and Manufacturing

Through the course of developing an economic development strategy for the state of Rhode Island, the need to connect the state’s small manufacturers to their industrial designers emerged as a core opportunity. Fourth Economy was hired to create a business plan and engage stakeholders in the creation of a national center that would administer Design Readiness Assessments and connect designers and manufacturers to improve their products and processes. Over the course of the next two years, Fourth Economy assisted the State of RI in securing $4.5m from the Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment to pilot the concept with defense manufacturers. Today, Fourth Economy continues to provide project management support for STEAM ENGINE USA.


Strengthening Partnerships for Business Attraction

The Detroit Regional Chamber recognized the need to better define their relationship to their 11 county economic development partners, whom they represented for business attraction purposes; the challenge was that unlike many county economic development organizations, those in the Detroit Region are already particularly strong at business attraction. The Detroit Regional Chamber partnered with Fourth Economy to understand the unique strengths and weaknesses of each partner organization, how the Chamber could add value, and specific protocol for how they all would work together to improve regional business attraction efforts. As a result of our work, the Chamber and its partners signed a regional collaborative protocol agreement and implemented many of the recommendations from the strategy we developed.