InnovateNC Releases Asset Mapping Tool to Increase Innovation in NC Communities

Startup TechWire David Menzies 919-274-6862
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Today the Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI) announced the release of the InnovateNC Community Innovation Asset Map, a unique, first-of-its-kind, inclusive mapping tool that helps communities inventory existing assets for enhancing their local innovation economies. “Bringing new ideas to market is critical for creating broad-based transformative growth,” said Wayne Holden, Ph.D., RTI International president and CEO. “As the anchor institute of Research Triangle Park, RTI invested and co-developed this tool to help cities and communities around the world and in North Carolina create a path to economic prosperity.”


The Asset Map’s design serves to help North Carolina reach the top quartile of innovative states, by getting more people in more cities involved in a broad innovation turnaround.


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“The next twenty years are going to be a period where every place -- and every person -- needs to be ready to relentlessly reinvent themselves,” said IEI Director Leslie Boney. “Communities need to build on their competitive assets, and this guide lays out the process to do that."

This turnkey tool makes a purposeful effort to reach out to under-connected and disengaged citizens to get them involved in driving innovation in their communities.

"The Asset Map was designed with an intentional focus on inclusion,” said IEI Policy Manager Sarah Langer Hall. “It's terrific to have high-quality resources in a community, but not so great if large segments of your population don't know they are available or can't access them."

The Asset Map is unique in that it outlines the complete protocol and timeline, and is widely applicable to both urban and rural communities of all sizes. The design encourages collaboration in assessing the quality and inclusiveness of innovation ecosystems, and looks broadly across an entire entrepreneurial landscape.

“All communities have assets they can use to build and grow a vibrant economy – but knowing which assets are most valuable isn’t easy,” said Dr. John Hardin, Executive Director, N.C. Office of Science, Technology & Innovation (OSTI). “The InnovateNC Community Innovation Asset Map is an essential tool that will help any community—large or small, urban or rural—make the smart, well-informed decisions that are necessary to prosper in today’s innovation-driven economy.”

Thanks to the generous support of the Institute for Emerging Issues, RTI International, the NC Department of Commerce’s Board of Science, Technology & Innovation, and other InnovateNC partners, the InnovateNC Community Innovation Asset Map is being offered to communities as a FREE download during its initial launch. Additional tools are planned for release by the end of 2017, at InnovateNC.org.

InnovateNC is the first public-private innovation initiative of its kind, established to spark innovation-centered economic development efforts statewide. Evolving from the 2015 Emerging Issues Forum hosted by the Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI) at NC State University, “Innovation Reconstructed,” InnovateNC is an intensive two-year “cross-city learning collaborative” supporting five North Carolina communities—Asheville, Greensboro, Pembroke, Wilson, and Wilmington/Carolina Coast—as they expand their local innovation economies.

The Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI) is a public policy “connect, think and do” tank housed at North Carolina State University, charged with connecting people and resources across all sectors and regions of North Carolina in an effort to ensure our state’s future economic competitiveness. Talk, Text, Future is a part of IEI's wider efforts to engage youth in conversations designed to enhance their impact as citizens on North Carolina's future prosperity. For more information on IEI’s work, please visit emergingissues.org.