Brookings Institution’s leading urban innovation experts cite Indianapolis as America’s leading place for “perfecting a culture of collaborative action”

January 9, 2018

WATCH Inside INdiana Business interview with Brookings Institution and The New Localism author Bruce Katz and CICP and BioCrossroads President and CEO David Johnson. [WATCH]

INDIANAPOLIS (Jan. 9, 2018) –When it comes to effective 21st-century economic development, Indianapolis is about to be singled out as a national leader “for its collaborations within sectors, technological innovations and investment in the workforce of the future—launched into the global sphere through civic efforts and strong local leadership.” Published today, a major new book, The New Localism – How Cities Can Thrive in the Age of Populism, by Brookings Institution’s Centennial Scholar Bruce Katz and Senior Fellow Jeremy Nowak, tells the stories of global cities on the vanguard of progress at a time of growing global complexity and change. In particular, and along with Pittsburgh and Copenhagen, Indianapolis is singled out as a world leader for strategic approaches and sustained solutions to the challenges of growth.

The book highlights Indianapolis as a city that was thinking ahead of its time almost 20 years ago with the establishment of effective governance mechanisms such as the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP) to combine effective community leadership, data and strategy, and funding to provide a winning “structure to the practice of collaboration”. As one example, Katz and Nowak detail how CICP’s oldest sector initiative, BioCrossroads for life sciences, has been successful establishing a venture capital ecosystem, market-driven enterprises, and industry, academia and philanthropic collaborations.

In the book, Katz and Nowak contend that the real power to create change and how it can be used to address our most serious social, economic, and environmental challenges is at the regional level. They also illustrate how power is shifting in the world:

  • Downward from national governments and states to cities and metropolitan communities;
  • Horizontally from the public sector to networks of public, private and civic actors;
  • Globally, along circuits of capital, trade, and innovation

“The Indianapolis story stands out for us because of the continuity of leadership, the impact of strategic philanthropy, the professional capacity that has been built and nurtured, the culture of collaboration, the level of capital deployed and the progression of thinking and action,” Katz said. “Its strong lessons are examples of how New Localism can work for other cities.”

From Basketball to Biotech

The book traces the history of Indianapolis’ emergence as an amateur athletic center as a “platform to take the next step and do grand things” through the development of a comprehensive and competitive strategy for the key industries in the area like agricultural innovation, life sciences, technology and advanced manufacturing.

“Thanks to the forethought and strategic thinking of community business leaders two decades ago, and the ongoing commitment of succeeding generations of these leaders today, CICP and its six initiatives have worked to ensure that we can continue to grow a 21st century advanced industries economy in the heartland of America,” David L. Johnson, president and CEO, Central Indiana Corporate Partnership, said. “We are honored that Jeremy and Bruce wanted to share our behind-the-scenes story of how the Indy region has created, and maintains, a unique and networked governance model through engaging stakeholders, raising philanthropic dollars, and turning analysis into action.”

“Basic to the CICP concept was the concentration on industry clusters by encouraging collaboration among all parties in each industry to achieve their combined strengths. Emphasis also was to widen the scope of each cluster beyond Indianapolis to include academic and business interests in the Central Indiana region,” said Sallie Rowland, chairman emeritus of Rowland Design and one of three task force members that founded CICP. “The leadership of the CICP has accomplished superb results. It’s exciting to see these efforts recognized in The New Localism.”

About Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP)

The Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP) was formed in 1999 to bring together the chief executives of Central Indiana’s prominent corporations, foundations and universities in a strategic and collaborative effort dedicated to the region’s continued prosperity and growth. To advance this mission, CICP sponsors six key economic development initiatives, AgriNovus Indiana, Ascend Indiana, BioCrossroads, Conexus Indiana, Energy Systems Network and TechPoint, each of which addresses challenges and opportunities unique to its respective area: agriculture innovation, workforce development, life sciences, advanced manufacturing and logistics, energy technology and information technology. To learn more about CICP, visit