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NYC has turned into a hotbed of good ideas for economic development. Here’s another one: a competition for ideas to assist immigrant-owned businesses. This is one of a series of steps to assist immigrant-owned businesses that Mayor Bloomberg had announced in March. 

This idea competition is a being launched by a partnership among the City Economic Development Corporation, Deutsche Bank, and the Laurence N. Field Center for Entrepreneurship at Baruch College. 

Read more here

Visit the web site here

Illinois has launched an open data portal as an initiative of the newly created Illinois Innovation Council.

You can read more here.

You can visit the web site here.

The article also includes some interesting background on how NYC is developing new Apps for open government. Check out the NYC BigApps Ideas.

You can learn more about NYC’s strategy here.


Across the country, we are seeing the emergence of regional food systems. Here’s an example from Wisconsin. The Innovation Kitchen provides food processing services to locally grown produce. You can read more background on how USDA Rural Development is looking to expand this initiative to form a local food network in Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, and Minnesota. 

Read more.

You can visit the web site here

Yesterday, Michigan Governor Snyder proposed an imaginative plan for Detroit’s worst schools.

The worst-performing public schools in Detroit will be removed from the city’s school system and run by a new state authority charged with turning them around within five years.

State to Run Detroit’s Worst Schools

U.S. Education Secretary Duncan praised the plan, and educators in West Michigan indicated that a similar approach could work in their region.

The Governor’s message follows. His proposals incorporate practical ideas about what works.

Michigan Governor's Message on Education

This coming Thursday, we’ll be conducing a webinar on Strategic Doing, the strategy discipline for open, loosely joined networks, like clusters. Strategic Doing is a simple discipline, but like any discipline it takes practice to master.

The prime advantage: You can form complex collaborations quickly and manage them toward measurable outcomes. Incubated at the Purdue Center for Regional Development, Strategic Doing has broad applications to accelerate civic innovation.

In this webinar, we will introduce you to Strategic Doing, explore how the Milwaukee Water Council and Michigan State University have used the discipline, and introduce to you the new Purdue Certification in Strategic Doing.

  • Date/Time: June 23rd, 1:00 PM CT
  • You Need to Register at:
  • Overview

    Strategic Doing is designed to solve problems common in regional economic development where strategic planning fails. Strategic Doing is a new discipline for developing and implementing strategies for complex initiatives in loosely joined networks. Examples include clusters, workforce collaborations, sustainable communities, and regional alliances.

    Conventional approaches to strategic planning do not work well to meet the complex challenges we face today. The reason is simple. Strategic planning does not work in open networks. Traditional strategy practices emerged from large hierarchical, “command and control” corporations! A small group of people at the top of the organization did the thinking, while others did the doing.

    In economic development, there are no hierarchies. Yet, we still need to do strategic thinking. And now, more than ever, we need to act strategically. So, how do we focus our limited resources where they are likely to have the largest positive impacts?

    Where strategic planning is slow, linear and costly, strategic doing is fast, iterative and inexpensive. Strategic Doing guides strategy across jurisdictional and community boundaries to build action-oriented collaborations quickly. Strategic doing is catching on because people can understand it, apply it, and have fun, as they move their ideas into action. This webinar will give you insight in to the potential of Strategic Doing as well as the tools and methods.

    You can learn more at the Purdue Center for Regional Development.

    What the Webinar Will Cover:

    • What is Strategic Doing?
    • How does Strategic Doing bring people together on strategic priorities?
    • What are current examples of Strategic Doing in regional economic development?
    • How can I apply Strategic Doing in my region?
    • How is success measured?

    Wisconsin is leading state in developing local food systems. The state’s “Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin” creates models for local food systems by working with farmers and food buyers to develop new markets for Wisconsin food products. 

    The program has just released a report that outlines the initiative’s impacts. 

    WI Local Food Annual Impact Report 09-10.pdf Download this file


    Using the Milwaukee Water Council as a model for cluster activation, the Greater Milwaukee Committee is moving ahead to develop a new cluster in design technology. 

    Spreenkler Talent Labs represents one of the anchors.  Read more

    Photo credit: Rosales + Partners

    Some encouraging words from Steve Litt:

    The bridges also reflect changing attitudes toward public space in Cleveland. For decades, developers, nonprofit institutions and public agencies have concentrated on building isolated attractions, from museums to sporting venues, while investing little in the spaces around them.
    Now, a new civic ethos is emerging in favor of beautifying parks and streetscapes, and making it easier and more enjoyable to explore the city by bike or on foot.

    A trio of pedestrian bridges proposed by Boston architect Miguel Rosales could change the face of Cleveland

    Since the mid-White Administration, Cleveland’s real estate developers have run roughshod over the business leadership. The result: A string of projects that have been heavily subsidized with public money and plenty of money to grease corrupt local officials. The Browns Stadium deal set the template.

    This system all started to blow apart when the the County Commission — Hagan and Dimora — turned their back on Forest City and located the Med Mart and convention center on the Mall. The process got truly weird.

    Forest City (one of the chief architects of all this distortion) declared “We’re disgusted“, when a rigged game did not locate the convention center/Med Mart at Tower City. They had been shut out of the negotiations.

    Tempers flared, and politics got ugly.

    Forest City’s rival Scott Wolstein stuck a fork into the Tower City site for a convention center with a pithy quote: “”I’m not sure the back-ass of Tower City is the center of the urban core.”

    Forest City sputtered as Hagan and Dimora rammed through a decision to locate the Med Mart and convention center on the Mall. A month later, a proposal to reform county government emerged to eliminate the Commission.

    Soon thereafter, the Feds indicted Dimora. Pressure mounting, Dimora pulled the covers off the relationship between the Greater Cleveland Partnership and the PD. (Recall at one point the PD, under prior leadership even promoted a Forest City blog. Check Dimora’s rant at the end of this video).

    With the support of the business leadership, the County Commission was dismantled in favor of a County Executive. Forest City’s Tower City problem finally got solved by Ohio voters, as Forest City joined other gambling interests to convert the Ohio constitution into a zoning ordinance. (That creates some other problems, but Tower City — the failed project that dominated Cleveland’s behind the screen development politics for more than a decade — has finally been solved. They are converting Public Square into a Pottersville, but no matter. Forest City profits, finally.)

    We may be seeing the glimmer of a new civic development dynamic in Cleveland.

    Now, maybe, the business community in Cleveland can begin to focus on what can make Cleveland’s downtown more competitive. For some lessons on what works, check out what we did in Oklahoma City:

    How Oklahoma City officials turned downtown from dying to vibrant

    As Warren Buffet points out, gambling does not create wealth; it redistributes income.

    The redistribution operates as a kind of reverse Social Security. Mostly, the money flows from people who can’t afford to lose it to people who don’t really need it or shouldn’t really have it: casino owners and government.

    In Ohio, the redistribution game has gotten messier.

    Critics of Ohio lottery privatization, slots grow

    Ed Morrison · E4S: Inspired

    June 17th, 2011

    The most creative economic development organization in NEO does it again:

    Biomimicry Summit