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This is not a newsletterMillier Dickinson Blais
A digital toolkit for Ec Dev 2.0 | Number 24 | Circ 6,444

These are not articles

Evaluating Social Media in Economic Development


To help Canadian economic development organisations (EDOs) evaluate how effectively they are marketing their communities to potential investors online Intelegia, experts on Web 2.0 marketing for investment attraction, have created the Canadian Cities Online Marketing Index. The study examines how well the 20 largest Canadian cities provide information to investors online and use Web 2.0 tools like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube in their marketing activities. The top five cities and agencies in the 2010 Canadian Cities Online Marketing Index are: Edmonton – Edmonton Economic Development Corporation,  Halifax – Greater Halifax Partnership and Ottawa – Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation (tied for 2nd place), London – London Economic Development Corporation, and Hamilton – Hamilton Economic Development. To find out more about the innovative ways Canadian EDOs are using Web 2.0 tools download a PDF copy of the 2010 Canadian Cities Online Marketing Index. A 2011 edition of the Index is due out later this year.

If you’d like to learn more about ways to use social media in your organisation check out the University of Waterloo’s Social Media in Economic Development seminar taking place from May 25th to 28th in Waterloo, Ontario. Isabelle Poirier (President of Intelegia), Michael Marini, Dan Taylor, and Brock Dickinson will be presenting on a range of topics related to social media and economic development. Find out more details here or register here.

New Handbook Connects the Built Environment and Sustainable Economic Development


What is the connection between the built environment and sustainable economic development? To find out, check out the new Municipal Planning and Financial Tools for Economic Development Handbook. The handbook and accompanying InfoSheet focus on preparing for the economic challenges of the 21st century through planning and financial tools that can be leveraged to support municipal economic development goals. The handbook features a municipal checklist for investment readiness as well as snapshots and case studies on how Ontario communities and other jurisdictions are capitalizing on their assets. This handbook is a valuable resource for municipal councillors, economic development officers, planners, policy makers, engineers, architects, designers, and many others.

Weighing The Cluster Controversy

The geographic clustering of firms has been held up by Michael Porter and others as a means to stimulate innovation and productivity in certain industries. The success of cluster-based approaches to economic development often points to the success of craft manufacturers in Northern Italy, where dense networks of suppliers and producers have continued to profit from high-quality, high-value goods such as shoes, jewellery and furniture, despite low-cost competition from elsewhere around the globe. However, a new article in The Economist suggests that these low-cost pressures, familiar to observers of globalization, are causing some of the 'flagship' producers in these clusters to cut their own costs by outsourcing production – which in turn weakens the strong ties that made their clusters viable in the first place.

This suggestion has spurred a number of responses – most notably from Richard Shearer in The New Republic. Shearer reaffirms that the advantage of clusters in high-value industries lies not in production, but in the unmatchable value of the local skills and innovation capacity that they contain. Communities that house these clusters, Shearer notes, can help to retain and reinforce these local strengths by encouraging the formation of trade organizations and job training programs. As economic developers it is important for us to remember that while all industries continue to be susceptible to a global value chain, the unique skills and strengths embedded in local communities ensure that, according to a recent Brookings study, reports of the death of clusters are premature.

Fast Cities 2011


When you hear the word Houston, you probably think "we have a problem" before you think "reinvention, innovation, and cultivation", but these three qualities have helped to make it Fast Company's 2011 City of the Year. Each year, the magazine ranks America's Fast Cities, spotlighting "bold ideas that promise to enrich our cities and economies." This year's top city is no exception. This culturally diverse city is not just a business hub (with more Fortune 500 company headquarters than any other city except New York), it's one of America's most attractive cities for 25 to 34 year olds and has undertaken several initiatives, such as Discovery Green park, to create a greener city bustling with public events. Houston is not the only inspiring story spotlighted in this year's Fast Cities ranking. The United States of Innovation tour highlights 51 people, programs and ideas from across the country that are helping to build America's cities. Take a look for more inspiration for your own community.

Can Innovation Be Measured?


New York has received a bit of buzz lately as "the next innovation hub". Innovation is certainly a focus of the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), which has created an Innovation Index that tracks innovation activity over time to uncover key trends and characteristics. The Innovation Index input measure tracks research and development spending, finance and human capital - all important factors, but is it overlooking a key piece to the puzzle? Cliff Kuang, the editor of Fast Company's Co.Design highlights the need for a new input to be incorporated into innovation measures: social capital. Simply, his thesis is that innovation often stems from collaboration, networking and just being around people who are passionate about what they do. In fact, many in NYC are seeing opportunities to become an "ecosystem of innovation" and are capitalizing on the sometimes untapped potential of  linkages and networks. While it may not have been perfected yet, the Innovation Index is a helpful model for economic developers looking at ways to foster and measure innovation.

Cultural Mapping and Cultural Planning - Exploring the Occupational Dimension

Cultural mapping is an increasingly important planning and economic development tool in municipalities and regions across Canada. In Ontario, work over several years has been devoted to defining a consistent set of categories of cultural resources known as a Cultural Resource Framework (CRF). Until recently the CRF focused mainly on cultural industries and a range of other tangible cultural assets, such as facilities and spaces, natural and cultural heritage, and festivals and events. Only recently has Cultural Occupations as a category been added to the CRF.

In the context of an emerging creative economy driven by creativity, innovation and human capital, deeper understanding and analysis of the cultural labour force and occupations must be the focus of greater attention during cultural mapping and cultural planning. The Conference Board of Canada released a report in 2008 titled Valuing Culture: Measuring and Understanding Canada’s Creative Economy, which describes in detail this impact from an occupational perspective.

 The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’ (OMAFRA) Competitive Advantage Analysis (CAA) Tool or Creative Economy Tool was designed to assist municipalities with identifying the relative size and performance of cultural industries and occupations based on Statistics Canada’s Framework for Culture Statistics. The OMAFRA data enables a more fine-grained understanding of cultural employment within a given community and allows for the identification of potential job growth, relative specialization, and other opportunities to drive culture-led economic development.

Another largely untapped source of data on cultural occupations is available through Workforce Planning Ontario. Data that is available to these local planning organizations can allow for a more detailed examination of cultural occupations and their contributions to the economy.

These sources of data, and the more sophisticated analysis they enable, are part of the evolution and maturing of cultural mapping and cultural planning as essential tools in growing local economies and enhancing quality of life in our communities. Communities that have a clear understanding of their cultural footprint will be better positioned to advance their economic and labour market planning.

Employment Development Index March 2011


Our Employment Development Index is a visual representation of changes in regional employment figures over time. For a Statistics Canada map of the economic regions highlighted in the Employment Development Index, click here.

The Ec Dev 2.0 Digital Tools

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