Stirring the Pot: ICF deadline Jan 11

Economic developers can get sidetracked from pursuing long-term strategies because of the latest crisis of the day.  Two examples in recent years are day care and housing shortages.  These days, CARES Fund initiatives for small business are hoarding valuable time.  Little time seems to be available for vision setting and strategic planning, but in a fast changing world, at least some time needs to be allocated for this purpose.

Communities interested in jumpstarting efforts to learn and respond to how they measure up on global economic competitiveness should complete and submit the Intelligent Community benchmarking questionnaire. 

Around the world, communities use the framework to create their vision and pursue a more competitive, equitable and sustainable future.  Each participating community receives a complimentary “snapshot” report and is entered into the Intelligent Community of the Year competition.  More information on the framework and the questionnaire can be found here:  The submittal deadline is January 11th

Blandin Foundation has used the framework statewide for over a decade to help communities think about the importance of broadband infrastructure and services.  Over the past four years, Blandin and Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation have worked with ten northeastern Minnesota communities to improve access and use of broadband, building stronger and more vibrant communities.  The Foundation and Agency are now  working with partners to launch this work regionwide.

Completing the Intelligent Community benchmarking has two positive benefits.  Short-term, it is a chance to collect and analyze data as well as to showcase your community’s success stories.  More importantly, it is an opportunity to develop a powerful vision leading to an enhanced community and economic development future.  The questionnaire takes just a handful of hours to complete.  Give it a try!