By Amy Holloway

We predict that 2015 will be a year of ideation in the field of economic development. Improved economic stability and more consistent deal flow will give EDOs space to think creatively and craft game-changing strategies.

Big ideas start by asking tough questions. Here are ten we believe every EDO should ask in 2015:

  1. What is our community’s vision for the future? Is our EDO’s mission still relevant to that vision?
  2. How can we unify our community’s definition of economic development and help residents understand the role of our EDO?
  3. How can we better leverage our education assets to help attract, retain and grow businesses?
  4. What can we do to help students pursue degrees that will lead them into high demand occupations?
  5. How does our community’s quality of life affect our economy?
  6. What can our community do to shrink wealth disparity among our residents?
  7. How can we expand our use of technology in community engagement and marketing?
  8. Should job creation continue to be our primary performance metric? How can we re-think the measures of our community’s well being?
  9. What will it take for the demographics of our leadership to better match our community’s demographics?
  10. What should we do to empower the next generation of leaders in our community?

Make your 2015 staff and board gatherings more engaging by taking time to discuss these questions. Focus on one question at each monthly board meeting. Or, include one question in each member newsletter and set up an online forum where members can post answers and engage in discussion.

Whatever the format you use, have an open mind. You’ll find the seeds of your next big ideas in the answers.