Bluegrass InnoVision 2018 Planning Process

 Overview:  Bluegrass Tomorrow, in cooperation and collaboration with key stakeholders in its 14-county area, is proactively addressing our economic downturn with our Bluegrass InnoVision 2018 planning project which is focused on developing a sustainable economy, job development, and improved communities with aggressive planning and action over the next 10 years.

On September 25, 2008 Bluegrass Tomorrow unveiled one of the best pieces of work the organization has ever accomplished:  the Bluegrass InnoVision 2018 Report, a comparative analysis benchmarking study which compared the Bluegrass to 22 other similar metro regions with a flagship university at their core.

The Report revealed the top challenges and successes in the Bluegrass, comparing over

150 data points including education, environment, crime rate, cost of living, health care, economy, et. al. and it effectively lays out the challenges and opportunities ahead.  The Report also focused on innovations and best community and quality of life projects that had a direct impact on improving economic development; the stand-out projects that “create a buzz” about a community.

A key conclusion was agreed upon by a broad-based regional committee that Quality of Life and Economic Development “are inextricably linked,” and that our economic focus should not only be about recruiting companies (the what), but also about recruiting and retaining creative talent and the Millennial Generation (the who) through creativity and innovation.

It is important to point out that the Report was a qualitative and quantitative look at how we compare to 22 other metro regions, and it’s also a compendium of great ideas and potential innovative models we can incorporate in central Kentucky.  It is the beginning of the planning process, not a completed plan.

Bluegrass Tomorrow is entering a new era, and the Bluegrass InnoVision 2018 Report will help us to begin an organized process of “open source collaboration” with the region, a process that will lead to new quality of life innovations and a new cohesive, unified vision for central Kentucky that will create sustainable economy and jobs.

The 2009 Plan:  The goal is to build regional trust and consensus through discussion of the results of the Report, and then craft a series of recommendations by the third quarter of 2009.  Our plan is to make presentations and seek input from four combined sector focus group meetings, and then follow-up work sessions, with the following:

  1. Economic Development, Equine/Agriculture Industry, Tourism Development Downtown Development (Arts, Culture, Heritage)
  2. Education, Health Care, Human Services
  3. Environment, Energy, Transportation
  4. Diversity, Youth/Millennial Generation

At these meetings, to which invited will be a diversified cross-section of experts and professionals (open to the public), we will delve into what are the greatest innovative initiatives that could be implemented in central Kentucky that would have the most positive affect on quality of live, economic development and job creation.  A major public event will take place mid-year, and following that action teams will be developed for each sector identified by community consensus to begin to develop a full Bluegrass InnoVision 2018 Plan to be completed with strategies, action items, and accountability, including who will be implementing planned projects and actions.  The full plan will be unveiled in 2010, which then gives us eight years to aggressively develop, or make definitive progress toward, the completion of our key innovation projects and subsequently the creation of new jobs.

Process Roadmap 2009

I.                    Sector Focus Group Meetings (March, April)

II.                 Sector Work Sessions (May, June)

III.               Regional Public Summit (June, July)

IV.              Development of Action Teams & Name Co-Chairs (Aug. Sept.)

V.                 InnoVision 2018 Public Event (Leadership Team & Co-Chairs Named) Oct.

VI.              Action Teams begin prioritization & development of Action Plans

Never before has the region worked together in this proposed fashion, but we believe this economic crisis will make stakeholders and partners more willing than ever to cast aside their regional biases and work together to make central Kentucky “All Together Better.”

Our approach, utilizing the best principles of “open source collaboration” will help us to unlock central Kentucky’s full potential in keeping pace with our benchmarked communities and competitive in the world economy in the 21st Century.

Long-Term Goals:  Through the development of a Bluegrass InnoVision 2018 Strategic Plan,the long range goal is for the Bluegrass Region to be recognized, both nationally and internationally as a great place to live and work.  We are utilizing as models the Vision 2015 Plan, implemented in Northern Kentucky (goal 50,000 new jobs), Agenda 360 in Greater Cincinnati, and the Beyond Boundaries/Wired 65 project in Greater Louisville.

We anticipate that central Kentucky, from a complete Bluegrass InnoVision 2018 Plan, will be comparable to Northern Kentucky and Greater Louisville as a collaborative region that makes partnership its most important innovation.  

This planning will enable our region to work collaboratively with Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati, and Greater Louisville to develop our “Urban Triangle” and to align with the “Great Lakes Mega-Region,” one of the nine economic development “mega-regions” that will contain more than 75% of the U.S. population, and most of its economic activity, by mid-century.

Consistent with the global phenomenon of regionalization, “mega-regions” are emerging round the world as economic powerhouses that are becoming the leaders in scientific, economic, and technical innovation.  A completed Bluegrass InnoVision 2018 Plan will enable central Kentucky to engage on this playing field.