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I - O P E N The Institute for Open Economic Networks

CIVIC FORUMS AS AN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT TOOL

WHITE PAPER May 2010

4415 Euclid Avenue

Cleveland, Ohio 44103

www.i-open.org

Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States The Institute for Open Economic Networks (I-OPEN) 4415 Euclid Ave 3rd Fl Cleveland, Ohio 44103 USA

Strategic Doing in the Civic Space New Practices and Tools for Economic Development

I-Open Civic Forums
I-Open Civic Forums accelerate economic transformation.
I-Open Civic Forums represent an exceptional opportunity to transform regional economies through open innovation networks. I-Open Civic Forums: • • • Promote regional economic development by accelerating entrepreneurship and innovation; Accelerate innovation and entrepreneurship by building open economic networks (sometimes called “clusters”) among academic, business, government and civic communities; Represent remarkably effective, low-cost marketing campaigns to support entrepreneurship and action learning projects; and Create new economic opportunities by shifting public thinking about what is possible.

Innovate by Encouraging Purposeful Conversations
Regions and communities are home to large networks of higher education institutions and libraries. Seen from one perspective, these institutions and organizations are remarkably fragmented. They operate largely separate from one another. Seen from another, each organization -- ultimately, each person in each organization -- can represent a node in a dynamic network of learning to support innovative businesses. I-Open uses civic forums to build these knowledge networks and stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship. We encourage open networks of collaboration built on trust and accountability. We model new civic behaviors designed to overcome fragmentation by focusing on mutual interests, realistic business opportunities and pragmatic next steps. By accelerating trusted connections among the region’s extensive research, information and civic community I-Open removes the barriers that stifle “open innovation systems” within regional economies. These innovation systems -- sometimes called “clusters” -- drive regional prosperity.

Create College and University Partnerships to Build Civic Spaces
I-Open Civic Forums seek partners to: • Build a strong regional brand in innovative economic development; Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States The Institute for Open 2 Economic Networks (I-OPEN) 4415 Euclid Ave 3rd Fl Cleveland, Ohio 44103 USA

• • •

Identify a network of dynamic civic entrepreneurs in communities who are transforming our regional economies: Provide quick access to action learning opportunities for students; Gain access to a growing national network of business, education and civic leaders promoting a new approach to regional economic development designed by I-Open.

The Civic Forum Process: A History
REI.Tuesdays hosted at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University, introduced a new kind of public engagement: the Civic Forum. Reaching out to the academic, civic, government and business leaders and citizens beyond campus boundaries in Northeast Ohio, REI.Tuesdays became known as a neutral convening ground for the exchange of public opinion and expert knowledge for the purpose of engaging small teams building projects and initiatives for regional transformation. Civic, business, government and academic leaders stepped forward to present research and practitioner summations of their solutions to the challenges affecting us all in our daily lives. Participants were introduced to cutting edge economic development concepts, best global practices and new principles of civic behavior that build trust and respect to accelerate the competitive value of civility. Each session ended with an action plan for “next steps.” Over the seventeen-month pilot, REI.Tuesdays gathered thousands of participants and hosted hundreds of forums. Robust social networks formed, resulting in a multitude of self-organized work groups, roundtables, focus groups and communities of commitment. The civic forum process piloted at REI, Case Western Reserve University, was replicated in other area universities and colleges, libraries and private business groups in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and South Carolina.

What emerged…
• BREWED FRESH DAILY covers news and opinion from Cleveland, Ohio on a variety of topics and is one of the largest and most advanced blogging communities in the country. Emerging from REI.Tuesdays in 2004 as an example of a new kind of citizen journalism, Brewed Fresh Daily has increased its readers and content providers exponentially. Content covers all areas of economic development attracting business, civic, academic and government leaders and serves as a regional center for Ohio news and opinion. http://www.brewedfreshdaily.com • CENTER FOR PREVENTATIVE HEALTH & DISEASE MANAGEMENT, LLC began with a team of researchers exploring new opportunities in healthcare management. As a result of their research, HDM capitalizes on Cleveland’s access to some of the best hospitals and research universities in the country. They developed a model to predict and prevent chronic illnesses rather than the model of seeing and treating diseases. http://www.nhm-inc.com/ Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States The Institute for Open 3 Economic Networks (I-OPEN) 4415 Euclid Ave 3rd Fl Cleveland, Ohio 44103 USA

CITY WHEELS began as a student action-learning project to assess the regional benefits of car sharing. CityWheels is now a family-owned business offering Ohio's first car-sharing service throughout Cleveland and vicinity. http://www.mycitywheels.com/

DEFRAG is an international business network focused on next generation industry opportunities in creative digital media. The quarterly conferences offer an integrated, multidisciplinary approach to address our innovation imperative in rich media, with a focus on education and workforce development. Conferences present new research, models and projects envisioning alternate futures. Unlike any other time in the history of civilization, Defrag encourages collaborative leadership and team projects identifying gateway solutions capable of the scale and interactivity needed to address critical world challenges, such as climate change, renewable energies and urban re-densification. http://defragohio.pbwiki.com/

FRIDAYS @ THE CORRIDOR is modeled after REI.Tuesdays. The “Fridays @ the Corridor” monthly event is a series of interactive forums that seek to inform, educate and network Charleston's knowledge-based community on a variety of topics that are relevant to their respective companies. By listening to the needs and concerns of member companies, the Digital Corridor engages qualified professionals in the Charleston business community to lead discussions that provoke thought and action. It is this effective engagement that can lead to economic benefit on the part of the attendee and therein lies the value proposition of Fridays @ the Corridor. “We also have the Fridays at the Corridor networking gatherings, but we wanted this to be for another purpose besides getting together and having coffee." http://www.charlestondigitalcorridor.com

• MIDWEST BIOFUELS LLC developed the first retail biodiesel pump in Northeast Ohio in partnership with American Merchandising Services, a local urban minority owned business enterprise. Midwest Biofuels is a provider of bio-based fuels and chemicals, and advanced technical services to assure successful introduction of these products to commercial and private fleets in Northeast Ohio. http://realneo.us/events/midwest-biofuels-announces-its-first-retail-biodiesel-pump-innortheast-ohio-aug-2005 • REALNEO emerged out of REI.Tuesdays, and continues today as a well-developed, highly engaged Web 2.0 platform. REALNEO is described as an open, free social network of people interested in arts and culture, economy, education, environment, health and technology, focusing on Northeast Ohio with global members perspectives. People are encouraged not only to enjoy the content but also to set up an account, join the community of content providers and start their own blog. In late 2005, internet entrepreneur Norm Roulet captured editorial and public commentary over months of REI.Tuesdays weekly civic forums to develop REALNEO, a Web 2.0 platform. At the time, the Drupal platform strengthened an emergent community dedicated to accelerate economic action and today, this on-line platform continues to expand significantly providing a full battery of social software tools. The website and its thousands of members provide a regional lifeline for community advocacy, and support a multitude of initiatives and business development opportunities. Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States The Institute for Open 4 Economic Networks (I-OPEN) 4415 Euclid Ave 3rd Fl Cleveland, Ohio 44103 USA

http://realneo.us • REGIONAL AUTOMATED TECHNOLOGY AND EDUCATION CENTER (RAMTEC) was designed as a model to accelerate innovation among smaller manufacturing companies in Northeast Ohio and to replicate the model in regions across the country. The RAMTEC initiative provided education, training and skills for automated manufacturing, led in the development of automated manufacturing technology and provided automation solutions for industrial applications. http://osed.smartworkspaces.com/index.php/Main/RamteC • TRANSTECH was an initiative dedicated to nurture and promote Northeast Ohio’s opportunities in regional transportation to create jobs and wealth throughout the region in vehicle technology-related manufacturing and economic development. http://weatherhead.case.edu/news/newsitem.cfm?idNews=154 Here’s what civic leaders in Northeast Ohio said about REI.Tuesdays: • REI’s focus on building networks and on magnifying the effectiveness of existing networks in NE Ohio provides exactly the kind of practical activity that makes best use of our resources University Professor It is with great pleasure that I write in unequivocal support of Ed Morrison and REI. Ed and his staff have been tireless in their efforts to reach out and communicate with the surrounding community. Their success in doing this is demonstrated in the energetic collaborations between individuals and institutions where none existed before Museum Director

• “Regionalism” and “economic development” have never been greater topics of conversation or higher public policy priorities than today. Diverse ideas and opinions on a myriad of critical subjects are invited to REI, dissected by the audience and used to advance our community’s knowledge and momentum in practical and innovative ways Director - Economic Development • REI is a great platform to connect us with regional business and industry leaders on many levels. REI also provides a great window for our interests in bridging the gap between academia and the real world. I hope that REI will continue grow as the important player in NEO to bridge academia and business. Chair, Digital Arts To carry on the work of REI, Ed Morrison, Betsey Merkel, Susan Altshuler and Dennis Coughlin founded The Institute for Open Economic Networks (I-Open) in July 2005. I-Open continues to conduct Civic Forums throughout Northeast Ohio. I-Open Civic Forums are the first step in building open economic networks. Forums combine guided leadership, education, public participation and collaborative technologies to promote new thinking and action in regional economic development.

Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States The Institute for Open 5 Economic Networks (I-OPEN) 4415 Euclid Ave 3rd Fl Cleveland, Ohio 44103 USA

Who participates?
I-Open Civic Forums are free and open to the public. Everyone is welcome. Forums offer a way for busy people to connect to information, resources and capabilities to accelerate entrepreneurial initiatives. People from business, government, academia, and students interested in building their networks come to learn about new opportunities in the region and how they fit in. I-Open professionals share their expertise in organizational and behavioral tools, such as social network analysis, appreciative leadership, collaborative Internet technologies and large group facilitation. Participants learn how they can apply open economic network practices immediately to spot opportunities and plan next steps.

What’s discussed?
People move in the directions of their conversations. I-Open Civic Forums design strategic open conversations to find out what’s happening, explore what’s possible, and to align people so they can work together. Some of the more recent topics include: • • • • • • Business Development Opportunities: 2020 Energy Policy Act Creating Arts Districts as Economic Development Engines What Lakefront Access Means to Regional Business Building Global Markets: Arts and Entertainment as Creative Industries International Student Networks: Doors to the Global Marketplace Wind Innovation and Manufacturing Opportunities

Why do civic forums work?
I-Open Civic Forums work for two reasons. First, they are part of a larger framework that I-Open has developed: Open Source Economic Development. This framework views economies as networks nested in other networks. Open Source Economic Development generates strategy maps and other tools to keep people focused on where they are and where they want to go. I-Open is currently deploying the Open Source Economic Development model in regional strategies in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, South Carolina and most U.S. states. As the leader of Indiana’s Leadership program has noted, “The model of Open Source Economic Development and its emphasis on civic networks and dialogue as competitive strategies are truly innovative practical tools that our research shows to be unique in the nation...Open Source Economic Development is remaking Indiana’s economic landscape.” I-Open Civic Forums work for a second reason. They are not stand-alone events; they are part of a larger process to build networks and translate ideas into action. We relentlessly focus on “What’s next?” We have coined the term “Strategic Doing” to describe this continuous process of identifying high leverage initiatives and moving these initiatives forward. Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States The Institute for Open 6 Economic Networks (I-OPEN) 4415 Euclid Ave 3rd Fl Cleveland, Ohio 44103 USA

Roles and responsibilities of the civic forum host
A civic forum process is led by a Civic Forum Leader responsible to teach civic entrepreneurs a blend of the latest research in economic development, organizational and behavioral tools, such as social network analysis, collaborative leadership, and building on-line Web 2.0 communities. Others include the Network Development Coordinator, Content Provider, and the Civic Forum Participant.

Title
Civic Forum Leader

Description

Who
Economic Development professional; educator; government; academic; business or civic leader; student; entrepreneur Educator, city, academic, business, civic leader, student entrepreneur

Skills
Open Source Economic Development; civic forum process Trained in leading an open guided participatory process of civic engagement

FT/PT
FT/paid

Network Coordinator

Content Provider

Participant

Day-to-day forum operations work in close partnership with a designated Civic Forum Leader to organize, facilitate networks, communicate, and coach the development of civic entrepreneurs as well as logistics, tools associated with the civic forum process Provides the content for Anyone with initiative the civic forum and an idea program(s) and drives all activity and outcomes, contacts, additional guests, panelists, contributors as speakers or audience Listens, may participate Anyone who is interested verbally, offers alternate in attending points of view, research, working and practitioner knowledge, other initiative leaders, may staff project team

FT/paid

Readiness to present clearly. Well informed, committed organized intent

FT/PT volunteer

Curious about the FT/PT future; interested volunteer in learning; looking for team

Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States The Institute for Open 7 Economic Networks (I-OPEN) 4415 Euclid Ave 3rd Fl Cleveland, Ohio 44103 USA

Where do civic forums take place?
Forums are held on a designated day and time each week at a location determined by the forum host. For example, I-Open Tuesdays were launched through a partnership with the Cleveland Area Metropolitan Library System (CAMLS) and were hosted at Northeast Ohio branch libraries. Universities or a private business location can be successful.

What is a typical Civic Forum schedule?
4:00 – 4:15 P.M. 4:15 - 5:00 P.M. 5:00 – 5:30 P.M. 5:30 – 6:45 P.M. Presenter & Audience Introductions Presentation of new information Discussion Wrap Up & Next Steps

How do Civic Forums help us see new opportunities?
Each Civic Forum addresses an area of economic development and investment. We exercise our brains by starting at the 10,000 foot level then telescope down to the next steps to make things happen. We ask both “What’s the Big Idea?” and “What’s the Next Step?” Civic Forums model new patterns of civic behavior in communities. In our complex world today, no one individual has all the answers. By presenting new ideas for examination and debate, we brainstorm our “best shots” together. If you are a participant, regular engagement and intellectual discussion is invigorating and thought provoking. Everyone leaves a forum knowing more.

How to market civic forums
Begin by sending weekly updates to your opt-in e-mail contacts. Your local blogging community can publish commentary and follow up conversations on the Internet. Traditional publications may contribute articles. Weekly e-mail communications list upcoming forum topics, offer web links to project updates, access to online communities and new knowledge about best global practices in economic development.

How participants stay connected
Everyone is encouraged participate in the next Civic Forum, join an online collaborative community, contribute an interview, watch a Broadcast Live Show or archive interview, join up with a project team, confirm a day and time for coffee to share ideas to expand their network, or participate in a core team or project.

Some rules for success

Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States The Institute for Open 8 Economic Networks (I-OPEN) 4415 Euclid Ave 3rd Fl Cleveland, Ohio 44103 USA

Be persistent and patient. Building communities of open innovation takes time and commitment. This is the most important and exciting work you will ever do in your lifetime for the benefit of future generations. Make a commitment and be ready for constant activity. Understand Civic Forums create a process of engagement with the potential for transformative innovation and exponential growth of activities. This is how Civic Forums are much more than “just another meeting”. Model civility. Civic Forums model new patterns of civic behaviors and allow citizens the opportunity to practice these new behaviors and conversations in a safe, neutral environment with the under-standing that no one individual has all the answers. By making the environment safe enough for anyone to present new ideas for examination, debate, and improvement we will have truly brainstormed our “best shot” projects together.

An invitation to partner with I-Open
I-Open builds partnerships and collaborations for funded initiatives and projects for Open Source Economic Development. I-Open reaches out to civic, business, and academic leaders, government officials and citizens to develop Civic Forums in communities and regions. I-Open seeks partners based on the contributory strengths individuals and organizations can bring to a partnership, their connections, their willingness to work in teams, to share new ideas, information, resources and capabilities. We look for partners who practice reciprocity (partners giving and receiving exchange of original ideas, new research working knowledge, and access to financial resources), attribution, and place a high value on new ideas with a fresh perspective for the future. I-Open seeks trusted collaborators to cocreate, guide an organized systems process resulting in transformative projects and initiatives promoting positive change. As a partner with I-Open, to begin and develop a civic forum in your community, here are the roles and responsibilities of I-Open and the civic forum host:

I-Open will:
Mentor, coach and teach forum host how to develop a successful forum (i.e. weekly newsletter/e-mail interview process for topic discussions and speaker selection, developing a comprehensive e-mail list) for a specific timeframe to be decided by I-Open and the host partner. Initiate an on-line community space using Web 2.0 collaboration and enterprise development. Complete social network maps from collected data

Civic Forum host will:
Secure a venue for weekly forums. Designate a manager/faciltator to help guide each forum. Send out a weekly e-mail to market the forum. Choose topic discussions and/or speakers for each forum. Collect data for social network mapping at each session.

Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States The Institute for Open 9 Economic Networks (I-OPEN) 4415 Euclid Ave 3rd Fl Cleveland, Ohio 44103 USA

Provide cookies and coffee. Lead quarterly civic forums to teach: • Collaborative leadership • Network building • Strategic Doing

What you can do today
• • • • • • • • • • • • Join an I-Open online collaborative community Think about starting an I-Open Civic Forum process in your community Comment on current web blogs; start a blog of your own. Read a “Hot Pick” book from the library Write down your best idea and who you think could help you to make it happen Connect others you know in an e-mail introduction; encourage them to share ideas and explore an opportunity together Create a gathering, attend conferences locally, regionally and nationally to build your networks and seek out people with interesting ideas and perspectives. Spend time searching the Internet about a topic that interests you Buy a graphics drawing program and experiment Show an interest in people you meet randomly by introducing yourself and starting a conversation Make an appointment to interview people you would like to meet and know more about Introduce yourself to entrepreneurs at your local café and library

To learn more, please contact:
The Institute for I-Open Economic Networks (I-OPEN) 4415 Euclid Avenue Suite 301 Cleveland, OH 44103 Susan Altshuler, Director Finance and Contract Administration 216-577-9957 susanaltshuler@gmail.com Dennis Coughlin, Director Operations 216-288-2698 denniscoughlin@gmail.com Betsey Merkel, Director Research & Network Development 216-246-2447 betseymerkel@gmail.com Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States The Institute for Open 10 Economic Networks (I-OPEN) 4415 Euclid Ave 3rd Fl Cleveland, Ohio 44103 USA