Metropolitan Chicago's long-term prosperity hinges on the ability of our region and its business community to adapt when new circumstances require creative solutions. Economic innovation makes goods and services faster, cheaper, and better. It saves us money and time, enhances our quality of life, and improves our health and life expectancy.
GO TO 2040 emphasizes the economic innovation because of its major role in producing sustainable economic prosperity and enhancing our region's global competitiveness. To foster economic innovation will require improving government policies, measuring and tracking relevant data, fostering regional coordination, and providing services that can enhance innovation and support the region's industry specializations. Fortunately, the region's robust and diverse economy is well fortified for increased innovation with excellent universities and laboratories, resulting in tremendous opportunities to connect researchers and entrepreneurs.
Reorienting State and Regional Economic Development: Lessons Learned from National Examples
A new CMAP report—the first installment of a two part series—explores some of the states and metropolitan regions that have already begun developing innovative strategies to reorient economic development practices. Some of these examples could prove instructive for Illinois and metropolitan Chicago. The examples include broad-based state policies; the implementation of regional collaboration and cluster support; and improvements to transparency and accountability. Based on this research, CMAP envisions opportunities for the State of Illinois and metropolitan Chicago to improve upon current economic development practices. This research will be undertaken in the next phase of this effort.
Illinois Innovation Index
Since 2011, Illinois Innovation Index -- a collaborative effort between CMAP and the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Illinois Science and Technology Coalition, and World Business Chicago -- tracks a broad set of metrics to measure the innovation economy of the region and state. After its first year, the Index released its 2011-12 Annual Report, a compilation of the monthly Index newsletters, as well as an executive summary and video. Throughout 2013, the Index issued reports on a quarterly basis to highlight the four innovation themes, updating the critical innovation benchmarks established during its first year.
Cluster Drill-Down Reports
GO TO 2040 calls for strategically organizing the region around its existing and emerging clusters of specialization to better compete in the national and international marketplace. Prominent clusters in the regional economy include freight, advanced manufacturing, and biotech/biomed. Since 2012, CMAP has developed three in-depth reports that explore how manufacturing and freight clusters in metropolitan Chicago have transformed in response to a globalized economy. These "industry clusters" create high-quality jobs, spur innovation, and generate growth among numerous interconnected industries. The reports identify infrastructure, workforce, and innovation challenges and opportunities central to future cluster growth and conclude with clear steps the region can take to support the region's manufacturing and freight clusters.