Entrepreneurial ecosystem building is key to community and national vitality. While our economy continues to experience post-pandemic bumps, this theme has been a constant in many of the conversations we have at the Lab and an expanding focus of our work.
Can a small group of professionals change the direction of economic development in this country? We think so. As part of our work with InBIA (funded by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the leading foundation in the entrepreneurship sector), a group of more than 60 professionals gathered in Indianapolis for a Strategic Doing workshop. They are committed to building entrepreneurial ecosystems in communities across the country. In two days, they developed a strategic action plan to start the process.
Here’s why it matters. Economic development policy in the US is deeply rooted in the 1930s. It’s largely focused on recruiting companies on the move. Each year, state and local governments invest about $60 billion in incentives to these companies. The money is largely wasted. Until now, we’ve had no alternative. Building ecosystems everywhere — from inner-city neighborhoods to remote rural communities — offers us a path to a more prosperous future. Our work in Indianapolis provided a promising start to investing in a new type of civic infrastructure: investments that promise a more equitable, innovative, and sustainable economy for any community.
Liz shepherds the expansion of the Lab’s programming and partnerships with other universities interested in deploying agile strategy tools. A co-author of Strategic Doing: 10 Skills for Agile Leadership, she also focuses on the development and growth of innovation and STEM education ecosystems, new tool development, and teaching Strategic Doing.