I did it! I finally did it! A blog post title made up entirely of acronyms! Wow, what an incredible sense of accomplishment and relief. It couldn’t have been done without all of you, our loyal Prosperity Blog readers. Wait, what? You have no idea what I’m talking about? Ah. Well then, I’ll explain.

I know that you all know about the weekly Best Meeting of the Week (or B-MOW) posts that we (try to) do every Friday (or so) to give you some insight into the exciting lives of the Prosperity Partnership’s economic development staff. But you may not be aware of the RESTAG: the Regional Economic Strategy Technical Advisory Group that we’ve formed to help us in our work to develop the region’s next long-range, collaborative economic development action plan. The RESTAG met last week, and two things in particular happened at that meeting that got me really energized for our work ahead:

1) The Right People in the Room: The RESTAG is not meant to include every single stakeholder (our boardroom isn’t that big), but we want to make sure we’re getting all the perspectives represented. In terms of geography, that means every county as well as major cities and other important parts of the region (like rural). In terms of sector, that means business (large & small, including women and minority-owned), government, nonprofit, labor and education. And of course, we want our key clusters represented. Ultimately, we’ll be reaching out to thousands of people throughout the region to get their input – through events, focus groups, surveys and interviews – but this list-to-date is a great start.

2) Innovative Thinking About the New Strategy: I’ve had several posts over the last few months talking about new things that we want to make sure to do in the development of the new Regional Economic Strategy. So, it’s nice to be able to bring it all together into one consolidated vision, which you can see in this overview presentation. In particular, I’d call out slide 11 (where it talks about ensuring that we factor into “Part IV” how local efforts are aligned with/feed up into the new Strategy), slide 12 that summarizes some of our new data approaches, and slide 14 that outlines our shift from “Clusters & Foundations” to a much more multi-level “Industry, Occupational, and Subregional Clusters & Cluster Components” intersected by more directly business-applicable “cross-cluster initiatives.” That was a dense and super-nerdy last sentence, but I promise you that there was real excitement in the room about this stuff.

Last week’s RESTAG meeting was really a pre-meeting, getting folks up-to-speed and ready to go once we begin the process in earnest – hopefully in mid-January. And I bet there’s going to be plenty of B-MOW posts documenting our progress and decision-making. Although I can’t guarantee that all the post titles will be solely acronym-based. TT4N!

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