“Information is the currency of economic development and the more high value and persuasive information we can generate for our region, the better we will be able to do our jobs and hit our performance metrics.”
Jonas Peterson, the new CEO of the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance (LVGEA), values information at the highest regard and encourages his team to really understand and appreciate its significance. Because of this, Jonas has played a vital role in the growth of LVGEA over the past two years, growing a budget of $3 million in 2013 to $4.5 million. They have almost doubled their staff, and through new partnerships, they plan to double it yet again over the next year. Also, in 2013, they had five major investors; today, they are up to 45, and as you can imagine, if you look at LVGEA’s jobs created and capital investment, they are through the roof with an economic impact over $450 million in 2014.
When asked about their incredible impact, Jonas said that first is the importance of internal measurement. “At LVGEA it all starts with our strategic plan, goals and objectives. They drive what is in our budget, and then in turn, connect back to the KPIs we measure as an organization. What we did is we took every element of our strategic plan and every line item in our budget and attached it to a KPI, so our board can see with transparency and clarity every line item in our budget. We use 31 KPIs on a quarterly basis as an organization.” These internal metrics are what fuel the external impact LVGEA has on its county.
“This is all a testament to our team but really what happens to a community when it gets behind a strategic plan for community and economic development.”
However, the measuring doesn’t end there. LVGEA is currently investing in a research center and is engaging in a lot of partnerships all designed to bring forecasting, research, analysis, polling, and other capabilities under the LVGEA umbrella.
According to Jonas, as economic development professionals, if we want to make an impact, we all have to measure, to be transparent, to be tied to our strategic plans, to tie performance metrics to budget, and to make sure our organizations are moving upward.
The other part to this is to identify your five peer organizations and to keep track of how they measure results. Their performance can serve as a really good benchmark to know if your organization is healthy or not, and if we all do that as a profession, we will eventually have centralization of information.”
Another way to get started is to first make sure that you are measuring the most vital metrics for economic development, and then compare yourself to more than 500 other EDOs of a similar size across North America by taking our survey:
Image credit to: http://cerasis.com/