The Smarter Region initiative is aimed at bringing our region together in support of economic development by aligning our community around a shared vision of the future and by using data to foster informed decision-making. Smarter Region grew from the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge which was won by the City of Reno in 2013. During a three-week period in 2013 a team of IBM experts worked in the region to deliver recommendations around many of the key issues we face as a community. The IBM team conducted over 50 interviews with more than 110 stakeholders from private, public and education sectors and identified five overarching recommendations to establish a framework for regional economic development. (Read the full IBM report)
1. Change your mindset: Develop an integrated regional economic development strategy.
2. Be one strong voice: Present one regional economic development face to the outside world.
3. Harness your data: Build a regional “system of systems” analytics utility to support economic development.
4. Brand the vision, not the slogan: Present a single strong identity for the city and the region as a whole.
5. Invest in your people: Focus on education and workforce development to build a foundation for future growth.
TMRPA was selected to lead the 3rd recommendation with technical support from the Desert Research Institute. Harnessing data is more than just compiling data into a database. It requires unlocking the insight and efficiency inherent in the improved understanding of our community that data can provide. Through the use of data analytics a Smarter Region can achieve real-time awareness, become more responsive, foster an economically competitive edge and remain resilient in the face of unforeseen changes. We have created a short video to highlight our work around harnessing the data, plus you can find more information and video content about the project by visiting smarterregion.org.
Smarter Region Leadership Summit
On April 24, 2014 all of our local elected bodies, which included the Reno City Council, the Sparks City Council, the Washoe County Commission, the Washoe County School Board of Trustees and two representatives from the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents, came together for the Smarter Region Leadership Summit. It is important to note that this was the first time in history all of these elected bodies came together for a single meeting. The response from our region’s leadership was a resounding call to accept the challenge of becoming a Smarter Region. To that end our leaders approved and ratified the IBM report and recommendations.