Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A key to growing any local economy is also growing the local community... and vice-versa.

Just got back from a terrific training session as part of the WIRED* grant that Joe Herring & his crew landed for innovative workforce development on mapping community assets to build a strong basis for nurturing a more entrepreneurial local economy.

The entrepreneurship focus has motivated a delightful trend away from “OK, what's wrong, what DON'T we have” to.. “OK, what do we HAVE... and what can we do with what we've got?” [google “effectuation”] This is how entrepreneurs think... and that's how we all have to think today!

Mapping a community's assets is powerful and there are several great models for doing this. I've been to two prior train-the-trainer trainings on this, both were wonderful... but this one was the best yet.

Simple. Cheap. Fast. (OK, and maybe a wee bit scary? Wallowing in despair can have its pleasures... as I've personlly been guilty of myself, LOL!)

The semi-legendary Godfather of Rural Entrepreneurship, John Allen of USU led the training along with the Western Rural Development Center's Jim Goodwin and UNR's Tom Harris. Absolutely terrific team. Day Two of the training is October 6 & 7 (two separate WIRED committees for the One-Stop Biz Center and the cool kids, er, Entrepreneurship.) Please let me or Joe Herring know if I'm intriguing any of you – maybe your town or neighborhood would want to do this?

I thought I knew how to do great asset mapping (e.g., the tools at www.energizingentrepreneurs.org) but today I know more... a lot more. And after next month's second day... Anyway, on Monday, this old dog learned a new trick. I'm sold. How can those of us in this training help you to grow your local communities??

For tons more info – head to http://wrdc.usu.edu and look at 'Publications' – much of this applies anywhere, not just rural and small towns.


p.s. It gets better – Randy Shroll reminds me that the state's fall workforce summit is going to get into asset mapping! (Be sure to chck out the new Commerce website, btw.)

* Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development, a $5 million US Dept of Labor grant.



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