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New Tools for Assessing Regional CompetitivenessSo much about the practice of economic development is information-driven and the Internet has facilitated the creation of several web-based tools that make data on regional competitiveness more accessible than ever. A newly launched web site makes such analytical tools available to economic developers and public officials in an effort to support better decision-making, particularly in rural regions. These web-based tools are part of the Rural Innovation Project, which is a collaborative effort between three Midwestern universities and a couple of private research firms.

With funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, the project has built three analytical tools that are designed to inform strategic thinking about what it means to be competitive in a knowledge-based “innovation economy”. The three tools are: 1) the Innovation Index, 2) Cluster Analysis, and 3) Regional Investment Analysis. The Innovation Index is comprised of four sub-indexes (human capital, economic dynamics, productivity and employment, and economic well-being) and allows a region to compare itself to other regions, a state, or the U.S. on key measures of innovation. The Cluster Analysis tool allows users to examine the characteristics of 15 pre-defined occupational clusters and 17 industry clusters that are knowledge-based in their orientation. The Regional Investment Analysis tool provides a framework for prioritizing public investments that support innovation-based economic development within five broad categories:

• Brainpower
• Innovation and Entrepreneurship Networks
• Quality, Connected Places
• Branding Experiences
• Civic Collaboration

To read the full, original article click on this link: New Tools for Assessing Regional Competitiveness | Community and Economic Development in North Carolina

Author: Jonathan Morgan