Innovation intro


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 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.

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

The second report, Reorienting State and Regional Economic Development: Challenges and Opportunities for Metropolitan Chicago, examines policy and practices impacting economic development in northeastern Illinois.  This report uses case studies to explore how the State of Illinois and Chicago region are moving forward in efforts to improve upon current economic development practices.  

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.

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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

New CMAP Report Examines Opportunities for Reorienting Economic Development in Region, State

Continued economic growth depends on the region and state’s ability to reorient policies and practices.

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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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