APPROACH AND METHODOLOGY
The Regions Rising Together commitment is designed to organize the energy, policy, and partnerships among those who believe that the best way to accelerate job creation and raise our game in the more competitive 21st century economy is through a national (not just federal) plan implemented bottom-up to maximize local strengths, assets, and infrastructure across the country.
So, figuring out what works, what doesn't, what's missing, and what unites us must be a collaborative project linking many actors, institutions, and geographies around a shared vision and adaptive, flexible implementation strategies.
Our effort is modeled on the Turner Foundation Partnership Project, which successfully used shared technology services to accelerate collaboration among civic participation groups in the late 1990s. In this case, we are using shared public opinion research, monthly exchange calls, webinars, regional roadshows, and other collaboration mechanisms to support policy innovators, business leaders, and regional advocates who are making the frontline case for change.
Regions Rise Together partners will work collaboratively and across regions to:
Build a common lexicon for bottom up innovation and define how all Americans can engage in a national (not just federal) strategy for economic renewal;
Lift up success stories in the near term and scalable market and finance models over a longer time horizon;
Build an 'acceleration cookbook' of replicable success stories that can be shared across communities;
Create an open platform to highlight local success stories, better share practitioner knowledge and identify long-term, bi-partisan policy breakthroughs;
Transform 21st century governance in 2013 by lifting up new models of distributed and performance-based economic development, clean energy innovation, and infrastructure finance supported by Governors, Mayors, businesses and community leaders;
Create a bi-partisan 'bottom up' innovation commission, One Million Jobs Challenge, or similar vehicle to prepare to launch new public-private partnership models and change mechanisms for 2013 transformation and legislation where all Regions Rise Together to incent job growth.
Scaling success will require implementation of a focused, multi-tiered organizing effort, including:
Creating an open 'wiki' databank of 21st century economic success stories by December 2011;
Developing an 'acceleration cookbook' of replicable models of success;
Organizing local events with outreach to media and key stakeholders to promote 'signature' economic success stories;
Expanding our current networked set of 150 regional partners to approximately 2000 regional economic development oriented actors, groups, and networks across the 50 states;
Creating a bi-partisan 'bottom up' innovation commission or similar vehicle to inject new, public-private partnership models and transformational mechanisms into bi-partisan 2013 dialogue.
IMPLEMENTATION, TIMELINE, AND DELIVERABLES
Create an open 'wiki' databank of 21st century economic success stories by December 2011. Organize 50 local events with outreach to media & key stakeholders to promote economic success stories in 2011 and 2012.
Expand our current networked set of 150 regional partners to approximately 2,000 regional economic development oriented actors, groups and networks across the 50 states by 2013
Create a bi-partisan 'bottom up' innovation commission, One Million Job Challenge or similar vehicle to prepare to launch new public-private partnership models and change mechanisms for 2013 transformation and legislation where all Regions Rise Together.
The current economic development and infrastructure deployment systems are archaic, stove-piped and underperforming. What does innovative, workable, collaborative and uniquely-American economic development in the 21st century really look like? How do we find ways to both engage and bypass Congressional and federal agency bottlenecks and similar top-down hurdles?
We know what happened in the 1930s when new hybrid institutions like the TVA were rolled out to tackle core challenges such as electrification and rural development. We know what happened just after World War II when Henry Wallace devised the idea for local growth coalitions so that the private sector and community leaders could come together to focus on job creation efforts to replace the war engine as it revved down after 1945. What do 21st century versions of the TVA and Henry Wallace's Growth Coalitions look like? It would seem that we need new generation of change mechanisms based on distributed forms of implementation and community-based collaboration more suited to this era.
Nothing will pass in Congress now, but come 2013, it is clear that there will be a group of bi-partisan Governors and business leaders who will want to move towards new performance-based government and flexible block granting of their money. Forget time-consuming grant competitions for small amounts of experimental funding programs designed by Washington bureaucrats. A new generation of post-partisan leaders will want to bundle what few federal resources are left (workforce training, infrastructure, economic development, energy investment, etc) and create the outcomes they want. Interested regions will petition the federal government to get their funding that way, and the competitive value of the 'race to the top' concept can be offered up as bonus funding for those that deliver on their promises - not a competition pitting states and regions against each other.