We often take stock of what needs to change in our lives at this time of year. We are rummaging through our homes and habits, choosing which items to get rid of that are not useful, or which goals to keep that will newly enrich our lives. The same should be true of our economic development goals. We have heard countless stories of communities going through the process of strategic planning only to find their ambitions left on a shelf. Nevertheless, those communities that have some element of a strategic plan are indeed more successful at economic development.

If you don’t have a strategic plan or it has been a while since it has been updated, it may be time to start planning which goals to keep this spring. One of your goals might be the convergence of people and place. Historically, economic development has been, “If you build it, they will come.”  Now, economic development is increasingly being led by talent. If you build your talent, then they will come. So, how does place fit into the mix? Building an engaging place where people want to live, grow, and develop will create the kind of quality of place needed to build your talent. This will affect talent recruitment, and will also impact talent retention to an even greater degree. What does this translate to in planning terms?


Placemaking is the convergence of economic development and quality of place. It strives to take the same strategic planning that goes into economic development and uses it to drive measurable outcomes that reshape and revitalize your community. It builds organizational capacity by creating partnerships between EDOs and community groups, then uses those partnerships to establish activities that will create interesting and dynamic cultures throughout your community. It looks different for everyone: for some, it is tourism working with economic development, workforce development working with tourism, and all of these groups working with the visitors and convention bureau. As talent continues to lead decision-makers’ outcomes, placemaking will play an even greater role in your strategic plan.

We all want to get a start on our spring cleaning, so let Ady Advantage help you. Give us a call at 608.663.9218 and let’s talk placemaking and talent.