Guidelines for Regional Investment
Projects are most successful when they are connected to a sensible regional strategy. The following framework and tool can help regions link and leverage assets in new and innovative ways.
What Investments Hold Strong Potential for the Region?
Regional leaders can simplify the process of developing a shared framework by first defining their goals in terms of five categories of strategic investment, corresponding to the critical ingredients for competitive regions in today’s global economy.
Brainpower: A region needs people with the necessary skills to support globally competitive businesses.
Innovation and Entrepreneurship Networks: A region needs business development networks to convert brainpower into wealth through innovation and entrepreneurship (including cluster organizations, angel capital networks, and mentoring networks).
Quality, Connected Places: A region needs to develop places with a high quality of life that are connected to the rest of the world since skilled people and innovative companies are mobile and seek such characteristics.
Branding Experiences: A region needs to define its most distinctive attributes and communicate them. Young people want to live in regions with a future, and they can see this future most clearly through the stories they hear about a region.
Civic Collaboration: A region needs leaders skilled in collaboration. Economic and workforce development investments involve multiple partners, so a region that understands how to collaborate will be more competitive.
By defining and mapping regional goals onto the strategy mapping tool, regional leaders can gain some insights into whether their current level and pattern of economic development investments appropriately reflect their goals.
How Do We Prioritize the Investments Holding the Most Promise?
The Regional Investment Portfolio Tool (.xls) can help a region identify the public investments most critical to carrying out its economic development strategy. The tool is a high-level summary about alternate investment options, similar to the process investment managers use to allocate financial capital across a range of possible investments. It is developed through guided, focused discussions within the leadership team. Click here to explore the spreadsheet template.
More detailed information about the regional strategy process can be found in the report, Crossing the Next Regional Frontier: Information and Analytics Linking Regional Competitiveness to Investment in a Knowledge-Based Economy.