Voices and Choices speaks from Micro and Macro Economic Perspectives

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Mon, 07/10/2006 - 12:30.

As an economist, I've always been fascinated by the wealth of value our foundations provide this region, including funding arts and culture, supporting innovation in education, catalyzing the economy and leading government transformation, and most remarkably forming The Fund For Our Economic Future and funding global change leaders America Speaks to lead the Voices and Choices collaboration now poised to revolutionize our regional insight and economic development. As an open source economic developer for the region, I've had significant opportunity to work on many projects funded by local foundations that are truly transformational, including Voices and Choices, so I feel I must speak up in complete support for this initiative of America Speaks.

This has been the most rewarding experience I've had working in economic development in NEO, helping facilitate the Fund For Our Economic Future's Voices and Choices community dialog and technology implementation, both because this allowed great people to work together on an important regional change initiative and because we have had the opportunity to work with America Speaks, and their people, who have brought remarkable insight to our region. No one person or aspect of this change effort stands out as the key to success, but rather it is the multi-county, multimillion person focus and innovative execution that has been unprecedented.

When Fund For Our Economic Future announced funding Voices and Choices, there were many skeptics and naysayers who argued this macro economic approach was too broad to drive meaningful change, and others who questioned using "outsiders" to organize the effort (America Speaks is the world leader in their field, founded by a Case-affiliate, but based in Washington, D.C.). I've been on the inside and outside and found the focus dynamic and the America Speaks leadership outstanding, and the potential value of the collaboration very powerful. We are poised for significant transformation of our community whereby we may focus on the choices of the community's voices, and expand the open source economic development dialog and inclusion moving forward into future phases of this "revolution".

I do not suggest you take my word for this, but I recommend you take immediate steps to learn for yourself about regional transformation and the value Voices and Choices offers you and your interests, whether they are "macro" - big picture - or "micro" - around the corner. Over the next few months, Voices and Choices will complete a major phase of insight gathering for transformation of NEO for the future, with support of the Fund For Our Economic Future, driven by those who come into their community conversations and join the Voices and Choices virtual community... we together are designing our region of the future. To say that is not important is shortsighted, and to say this doesn't include you is wrong. Having designed their technology solution, I can assure you it is open source and becoming very collaborative, and this is on its way to driving important insight that will improve the quality of life for everyone in NEO, for the next seven generations.

To become more involved, go to the Voices and Choices portal at http://www.voiceschoices.org and learn more, and sign up for the newsletter so you will be informed of next steps. At realneo.us, we will be very involved driving Voices and Choices forward to the best possible outcomes, and informing our community about progress with this remarkable global initiative. See the link below for the best next steps to helping your region prepare for the future...



Speak Your Voice, Make Your Choice
Nearly 20,000 people have identified the greatest challenges facing Northeast Ohio. Now is your chance to make decisions about what we should do to overcome those challenges. Complete a Choicebook to cast your vote on our regional priorities. Sign up for our newsletter and be the first to know when the Choicebooks are available.