Building Communities

Building States™ Policy Analysis

America today seems to be engaged in an endless debate about how to fix the economy. Economic stimulus.Tax cuts. Economic stimulus. Tax cuts. Tastes great. Less filling.

Meanwhile, little or nothing useful or lasting is accomplished.

One problem is that the stimulus versus  tax cut debate is only half the story. While sound fiscal and monetary policy is undoubtedly critical for a well-functioning national economy, a second and equally important factor is how American communities approach and address their own futures.

Simply stated, communities have their individual Economic DNA, and communities that strive to improve their economic conditions and overall quality of life with strategies consistent with their Economic DNA are far more likely to succeed.

Economic DNA

Economic DNA? You very likely have never heard of this term. But just as humans have DNA that largely determines the appearance, health and function of their bodies, communities and regions have DNA that defines the community and economic development opportunities unique to each of them.

For example, communities and regions with outstanding infrastructure and abundant available industrial land have development opportunities other communities and regions do not have. Regions that are gateways to national tourism attractions have a different set of possibilities. University towns have yet another set of unique opportunities. Communities located near significant natural resources have still another set they may use. Economic DNA.

But how do communities and regions determine their economic DNA? Is there a way to objectively analyze these opportunities and their interplay so that cities and counties can be far more strategic as they formulate and deploy a set of community and economic development strategies?

Building Communities and the Key Success Factor Analysis

Fortunately, Building Communities has developed the Key Success Factor Analysis so communities and regions can expeditiously and objectively analyze and determine their DNA. By answering multiple questions in less than three hours, communities and regions can develop an accurate picture of the precise strategies they should select for increasing economic prosperity and improving quality of life.

Imagine a country in which every community and region identified and implemented community and economic development strategies that clearly put them on the road to success. Imagine the deployment of land, labor, capital, time and civic capacity all focused on the right outcomes. The opportunities are all based on each community discovering its Economic DNA and how to best use it.

Yes, America needs smart economic policy at the national level. But America also needs smart communities and regions all deploying their unique human, financial and technical resources in a manner that will allow and result in local success.

Soil Conditions and the DNA of Communities

Building Communities begins this process by delivering a keynote presentation that elevates regional leaders and/or conference delegates to a new appreciation of the work each of them do. In doing so, it surfaces the underlying dynamics (civic condition) that explain why certain communities are destined for successful strategy implementation, while others inevitably will be challenged to do anything worthwhile at all.

Indeed, presenting the Four Stages of Civic Condition model presents a new paradigm for understanding why communities and regions behave the way they do. Simply stated, communities are generally in one of four stages—Apathy, Argumentative, Action or Alliance. The stage is the underlying “soil conditions” that is a strong predictor of which communities will successfully implement economic development strategies and which will sit on the sidelines or not effectively engage in the process.

Brian Cole, author of Building Communities: 25 Strategies to Advance America, presents the model in a thought provoking way causing conference participants to reflect deeply on “what stage is my community in?” and “what can I do about it?”

While the Four Stages model focuses on the interplay amongst a community’s civic activists, Cole then shifts the thinking to the Key Success Factors needed for any community to advance strategically. Referred to as Economic Development v 3.0 (with SWOT being v 1.0 and Asset Based Community Development being v 2.0), Cole explains how a fast-paced series of questions reveal Community DNA. A community’s DNA is an analysis of the very specific comparative advantages (and disadvantages) a community and region enjoys that accurately forecasts which of 25 economic and community development strategies are most likely to succeed.

The combined analysis of the human dynamics (Four Stages model) and the built and natural environment (Community DNA) predict future success for economic development professionals throughout the nation.

The Breakout: Conducting the Key Success Factor Analysis

The thought-provoking keynote presentation is then followed by a concise nuts-and-bolts examination of the conference delegates’ state. Referred to by Cole as the Community Thumbprint, he leads the breakout attendees through a computer and clicker-assisted Q&A session that scores the state's comparative advantage on Key Success Factors, resulting in an instant report to be delivered later in the conference.

Who better than the people in the trenches of community and economic development to contribute to a report that gives state policy makers a road map to the state’s most likely strategies for economic success?

The Session Report will:


©2017 Building Communities, Inc.