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COMMUNITY VOICE

Taking an economic vision and working to make it a reality

Monday, June 10, 2013 - 8:47 am

In the sporting world, the following is a common phrase: “If you aren't keeping score, you are only practicing.” A similar sentiment in business offers: “If you don't measure it, you can't improve it.”

Indiana's economic future is a most serious game. It requires keeping score; it demands assessing and evaluating changing circumstances. And continual improvement is simply essential.

The Indiana Chamber, its regional partners throughout the state and the hundreds of Hoosiers who have participated in the development of Indiana Vision 2025 are doing the scorekeeping and measuring. The recent release of the project's initial Report Card is the next step.

Let us tell you a little more about the initiative, this Report Card and what it means for all Hoosiers.

What is Indiana Vision 2025?

Developed by a statewide task force of 24 business and community leaders in 2010 and 2011, it seeks to establish Indiana as a “global leader in innovation and economic opportunity where enterprises and citizens prosper.” There are four drivers – outstanding talent, attractive business climate, superior infrastructure and dynamic and creative culture – that contain 33 goals.

What does this mean for Northeast Indiana's Vision 2020 initiative?

The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership has worked closely with the Indiana Chamber to ensure alignment between the two initiatives. The four drivers of Indiana Vision 2025 are similar to the pillars of Vision 2020. Similar to the Indiana Vision 2025 Report Card, the Vision 2020 Dashboard tracks our region's progress each year relative to comparable communities in the Midwest. Both of these efforts are vital to the future of our region and state.

What is included in this Report Card?

There are 60 economic measurements related to the 33 goals. Most include three time periods (example: 2000, 2005 and 2011), ranking Indiana's performance relative to the other 49 states. There are a few instances in which international comparisons are valid and achievable.

In the most recent year for which information is available for all 50 states, the Report Card includes the top five states, bottom five states, Indiana's score and the 50-state average.

Don't Report Cards usually come with grades?

They likely will – in the future (Report Cards will be released every two years). The 2013 version sets the baseline.

Two factors must be remembered: It takes time for public policy and other cultural changes to have a statistical impact. Second, while Indiana strives to improve in these areas, so are the other 49 states and countries around the world. But “if we don't measure, we can't improve.”

What can we take away from his report?

While there are positive signs, the overall message is that we have a lot of work to do. It is clear that the most attention needs to be paid to outstanding talent. That is not only increasing the number and percentage of K-12 and postsecondary graduates ready for success at the next level, but enhancing the skills of thousands who are already in the workforce.

What's next?

Efforts include continued public policy research, implementation of improvements at the local and state levels and a series of additional regional forums later this year.

What can I do to help?

View the Report Card, rankings summary and overall Indiana Vision 2025 update at www.indianachamber.com/2025. Identify your passions among the 33 goals. Contact a regional partner or the Indiana Chamber to become part of making Indiana the absolute best place it can be to work, live and raise a family.

John Sampson is president of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership. Kerry Stemler is 2013 chairman of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce board of directors.