Episode 134

Economic Development at Harvard University and Argonne National Labs With Lara Gale and Alison Turner


June 24th, 2024

24 mins 39 secs

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About this Episode

About this Episode

In this episode of the Econ Dev Show Podcast, Dane Carlson sits down with Lara Gale, Economic Development Program Manager for the Taubman Center of State and Local Government at Harvard Kennedy School, and Alison Turner, Senior Economic Development Researcher at Argonne National Laboratory.

Lara Gale and Alison Turner bring their extensive expertise and passion for economic development to the discussion, sharing their unique perspectives and strategic visions. They delve into innovative approaches to fostering growth and sustainability, emphasizing the importance of strategic planning and collaboration with various stakeholders.

Lara provides insights into her role at the Harvard Kennedy School, where she manages economic development programs and supports state and local governments through research and practical solutions. She highlights key projects and initiatives that have contributed to economic successes, including infrastructure development and community engagement strategies.

Alison discusses her work at Argonne National Laboratory, focusing on research-driven economic development. She explores the role of technology and data in shaping economic development strategies, sharing examples of how data-driven decision-making can identify trends, optimize resources, and create business-friendly environments.

Together, Lara and Alison address the unique challenges and opportunities in managing economic development in diverse contexts. They emphasize the significance of community engagement and partnerships in driving economic growth, highlighting the importance of building strong relationships with local businesses, educational institutions, and community organizations for a holistic approach to development.

This episode showcases the innovative work being done by Lara Gale and Alison Turner, providing valuable insights and practical strategies for economic developers and community leaders looking to drive positive change in their regions.

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Actionable Takeaways for Economic Developers

  1. Leverage Academic Partnerships: Collaborate with academic institutions to access cutting-edge research and resources. This can provide valuable insights and innovative solutions for economic development challenges.
  2. Utilize Data-Driven Decision Making: Emphasize the importance of data in shaping economic strategies. Use data to identify trends, optimize resource allocation, and create a business-friendly environment.
  3. Foster Community Engagement: Build strong relationships with local businesses, educational institutions, and community organizations. Engaging the community can lead to more holistic and sustainable economic development.
  4. Focus on Infrastructure Development: Prioritize infrastructure projects that support long-term economic growth. This includes transportation, utilities, and technological infrastructure that can attract and retain businesses.
  5. Encourage Strategic Planning: Develop comprehensive strategic plans that outline clear goals, strategies, and metrics for success. Ensure these plans are adaptable to changing economic conditions.
  6. Promote Sustainability: Integrate sustainability into economic development strategies. This includes promoting green technologies, energy efficiency, and sustainable business practices.
  7. Enhance Workforce Development: Invest in workforce development programs that align with the needs of local industries. This can include training, education, and partnerships with local educational institutions.
  8. Diversify the Economic Base: Focus on attracting a diverse range of industries to reduce dependency on a single economic sector. This can make the local economy more resilient to market fluctuations.
  9. Implement Technology Solutions: Adopt technology solutions that streamline operations and enhance service delivery. This can include digital platforms for business support, economic forecasting tools, and more.
  10. Evaluate and Adapt: Continuously evaluate the effectiveness of economic development initiatives. Use feedback and data to make informed adjustments to strategies and programs.

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