East Central Iowa Council of Governments, Iowa, USA (2021-2022)

East Central Iowa Council of Governments, Iowa, USA (2021-2022)

Creating a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) for the East Central Iowa Region

Project Overview

Future iQ was contracted to facilitate the development of a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) for the East Central Iowa region. This project was called Envision ECI – and was a strategy-driven plan for regional economic development that is designed to build capacity and guide the economic prosperity and resilience of a region. The process engages the private sector, non-profit sector, local governments, educational institutions, and other economic development entities to build a common vision for the region.

The CEDS is a pre-requisite for the federal designation as an Economic Development District (EDD) and must be updated every five years. Although the region’s last CEDs was updated in 2018, the timeline has been advanced due to the impacts of COVID-19. This project is being funded through the EDA CARES Act grant and as a result, the new CEDS will include a robust discussion of COVID-19 impacts and opportunities, and how the region can promote recovery and build resilience moving forward.

This project was hosted by East Central Iowa Council of Governments ECICOG). Established in 1973, the East Central Iowa Council of Governments is the designated Economic Development District (EDD) for Benton, Iowa, Johnson, Jones, Linn and Washington counties. ECICOG provides professional planning, programming, and technical assistance to the collective region known as East Central Iowa, which includes the metropolitan areas of Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, as well as Cedar County.

Future iQ®'s Role in this Project

    Future iQ facilitated the development of a regional vision and action plan for the East Central Iowa Region looking out to 2030. Key features of the project and Future iQ’s role included:

    • The regional planning work utilizes Future iQ’s scenario planning methodology involving a large-scale participatory process with community members and key stakeholders.
    • Future iQ worked closely with the project’s Strategy Group to guide project direction and oversee project activities. The Strategy Group was made up of a broad cross-section of community members, businesses, nonprofits, and public organizations.
    • The planning process was committed to engaging with and listening carefully to all voices in the region, especially from the rural counties.
    • The work on this project includes creating a project portal, including the unique branding and project logo, and a dedicated project website.
    • The planning process lasted approximately 12 months and included extensive community engagement including a Think-Tank, visioning workshops, interviews, focus groups and a Future Summit.
    • Regional Action Plan that guides the region for the next 3-5 years./li>

Additional Resources and More Information

Project Videos

Learn more about this Project. Visit the Future iQ Research Laboratory.