Economic Innovation

Economic Innovation

Metropolitan Chicago's long-term prosperity hinges on the ability of our region to compete in the face of future economic, fiscal, and market uncertainties. The region’s infrastructure and intellectual assets foster innovation, creating new products and services while making them faster, cheaper, and better. As new circumstances require creative solutions, economic innovation saves us time and money, enhances our quality of life, and improves our health and life expectancy.

ON TO 2050 and its predecessor GO TO 2040 emphasize 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.

Reorienting State and Regional Economic Development

Beginning in 2014, CMAP has developed a series of studies to explore how other states and metropolitan regions have developed innovative strategies to reorient economic development practices. These examples are instructive for Illinois and metropolitan Chicago. The first report examines lessons learned for broad-based state policies, the implementation of regional collaboration and cluster support, and improvements to transparency and accountability. Based on this research, a second report examines policy and practices impacting economic development in northeastern Illinois. Drawing on prior case studies, the series explores how the State of Illinois and metropolitan Chicago are advancing efforts to improve current economic development practices.

Follow-up analysis in 2018 revisited these case studies to assess how economic development policies and practices have evolved over time. Two Policy Updates looked at the outcomes of policy changes in the State of New York and Pacific Northwest.

Local Economic Development Incentives

Illinois state and local governments spend or forgo significant tax revenues to spur and support economic development. ON TO 2050 calls on the State of Illinois and Chicago region to pursue performance-based approaches that help make the best use of limited resources, and use data and stakeholder feedback to improve decision making. In 2013, CMAP released a report analyzing how local governments use incentives to accomplish a variety of policy and planning objectives. While most municipalities in northeastern Illinois use such incentives, decision makers often have a limited understanding of the value of those investments. Follow-up analyses at the recurring use of sales tax rebates and their effects across jurisdictional boundaries.

To Top

Reorienting State and Regional Economic Development: Lessons Learned from National Examples

Reorienting State and Regional Economic Development: Challenges and Opportunities for Metropolitan Chicago

Examination of Local Economic Development Incentives in Northeastern Illinois

Innovation Updates


March 04, 2015

Searching for Evidence of a Skills Gap in Manufacturing

New Policy Update looks at quantitative labor market data to determine the extent of the manufacturing skills gap in metropolitan Chicago.

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February 09, 2015

White House Releases FY16 Budget Proposal

A Policy Update describes housing and workforce and economic development provisions in the Obama Administration's $4 trillion budget proposal for FY16 .

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December 18, 2014

STEM Employment Trends in the Chicago Region

Innovation is a key factor in maintaining a globally competitive region, and policymakers and industry leaders look increasingly to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics fields to help ...

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December 04, 2014

December 4, 2014

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July 28, 2014

Indicators Shed Light on Chicago Region’s Innovation Economy

On July 28, CMAP released data and analysis on innovation indicators -- venture capital activity, private-sector R&D employment, technology transfer, and patent production.

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July 22, 2014

White House Announces Build America Investment Initiative

The initiative will focus on innovative financing via collaboration between the private sector and state and local governments on public-private partnerships.

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July 21, 2014

Clusters Indicators Highlight Importance of Freight, Manufacturing in Region

On July 21, CMAP released data and analysis on clusters indicators – intermodal lifts, manufacturing and freight cluster employment and industry location quotients, and manufacturing exports.

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July 15, 2014

Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity releases new strategic plan

The plan outlines seven initiatives, including the promotion of economic development at the regional level.

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July 14, 2014

Workforce Indicators Show Growing STEM Employment, Manufacturing Skills Gap in Region

On July 14, 2014, CMAP released new data and analysis on workforce indicators – educational attainment, workforce participation, the skills gap, and STEM occupations.

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July 07, 2014

New microsite tracks regional economic trends

CMAP's microsite will focus on four major economic themes: trends, industry clusters, workforce, and innovation.

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June 13, 2014

Draft GO TO 2040 plan update available for public comment through August 1, 2014

Submit comments on-line and attend open house meetings throughout the region for the draft GO TO 2040 plan update and FFY 2014-19 Transportation Improvement Program.

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May 20, 2014

OECD Examines Factors Contributing to Regional Productivity

New analysis investigates the effect that local governance, human capital, and freight activity can have on the overall productivity of metropolitan regions.

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March 18, 2014

White House Releases FY 2015 Budget Proposal

A CMAP Policy Update looks at regional and national implications of the Obama Administration's proposed 3.9 trillion budget for federal fiscal year 2015.

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February 18, 2014

Selecting and Updating GO TO 2040 Indicators

The GO TO 2040 comprehensive regional plan established a series of indicators and related targets to gauge implementation progress. As described previously , CMAP has initiated an update to the...

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January 31, 2014

Springfield Update on State of the State Address and CMAP 2014 Legislative Agenda and Framework

Legislators convened in Springfield for the second spring session of the 98 th Illinois General Assembly on January 28, 2014.  This Springfield Update discusses the Governor's State of the S...

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January 10, 2014

CMAP Report Examines Opportunities for Reorienting State and Regional Economic Development Practices

Metropolitan Chicago is home to a highly diverse and globally competitive economy.  To sustain the region's economic vitality, the GO TO 2040 comprehensive plan recommends organizing the regi...

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November 14, 2013

New Report Provides More Complete Picture of Trade Activity

Exports are an important indicator of economic health and trends. Until recently, however, related data focused exclusively on international exports, rather than between metropolitan regions. The ...

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September 30, 2013

Freight User Fee Legislation Introduced

On September 17, 2013, the Maritime Goods Movement Act for the 21 st Century was introduced in the U.S. Senate.  The bill would abolish the current Harbor Maintenance Tax ( HMT ), which is...

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April 17, 2012

Illinois Innovation Index Finds Exports Driving Economic Growth

The April edition of the Illinois Innovation Index draws attention to the role of exports in economic growth. The continued development of international markets -- especially burgeoning econom...

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January 12, 2011

America COMPETES Act Reauthorized

On January 4, 2011, President Obama signed the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010, reauthorizing "various programs intended to strengthen research and education" related to science, te...

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