In their words: Sara’s Summer Vacation

In Why this Work Matters, Sara Dunnigan writes about her search for new ideas and new solutions.  She’s still at it.  This brief post from her new blog both reinforces her wonderful, personal, energetic writing voice and gives some great insights on some of the mega-trends in economic development.  If you’re interested in riding the next wave in the economic health of your community, you might want to give her a follow.

Take it away, Sara!


What I Did on My Summer Vacation

I read every current state-level economic development strategy in the country. Who does this? I know. It was related to a project on best practices I was working on for a client, but it turned out to be one of the most interesting things ever. First things first. I was able to find current plans for every state but one on the web. (Georgia, you are a vixen.) That in and of itself was pretty interesting. But beyond that, there were some big trends worth noting.

1) Big convergence with economic and workforce development. Like, sometimes the economic development strategy was totally centered on improving, aligning or otherwise preparing workers for jobs in demand by industry. Goodbye job creation. Hello job fulfillment.

2) Clusters. Clusters. Clusters. Beyond just identifying them. Organizing them, using them as the foundation for state-level business retention and expansion activities, attracting firms who fill a gap in the cluster’s supply chain. You get the drift.

3) Three letters – KPI. Key Performance Indicators. My favorite plans were full of them and showed clearly how the implementers plan to measure impact. I liked it. A lot.

There were bad plans, there were good plans, there were great plans. And plans are great if organizations can make the leap between the planning and doing. I’ll be calling to find out.

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