In mid-February we made an exciting announcement: we publicly launched the Berkshire Blueprint 2.0 to an audience of over 300 people at the Colonial Theatre. This regionally-owned strategic imperative laid out two years of research results and targeted action steps to continue the positive trajectory and new narrative shift of the region. Since then, we’ve found ourselves in awe at the level of community involvement and the collective desire people in the region have to take a bite of the Blueprint pie. From individuals to organizations, private sector and public, we’ve seen a groundswell of energy that is now beginning to play a role in the implementation phase of this long term living plan for our regional success.
While much of the work of the implementation phase is behind the scenes, there are a number of aspects that are taking shape and worth sharing as we hit the four month post-launch mark.
Since our launch, we have not only handed out 1,000 copies of the executive summary, but also started spending significant time co-facilitating engagement within the five economic clusters of the Blueprint 2.0. This has involved developing solid connective tissue with cluster hub leadership, a number of joint grant applications, and laying the groundwork for what ongoing cluster participant engagement will look like. Building this structure, and bringing as many cluster participants to the table is going to be key to the long-term, sustained momentum of the blueprint actions, and we continue to look ahead to the tangible and visible work to come.
Simultaneous to the work in the five clusters, we’ve seen significant action in the cross-cutting issues and economic development ecosystem. Work has started to take shape through the reconvening and activation of the transportation strategy group. Currently focusing on the model development for a regional transit management association, this group brings together an agile and tactician-based committee that will both work on the issue of transportation itself, and tap into a broader regional network of assets and advisors. This work will continue to bring together the variety of resources we have regionally, while building and leveraging new opportunities to offer better transportation options for locals, visitors, goods and information from within and outside the Berkshires.
With a collaborative group of partners and stakeholders focusing on the innovation ecosystem of the region, we are also excited to be a part of the effort to bring EforAll (Entrepreneurship for All) Berkshire County to life. Over the next few months, this program will begin to roll out as a new way for businesses to get started and established here in the Berkshires, a need clearly identified in the Blueprint, and one that we are passionate about supporting.
With all of the activity going on, we look forward to keeping you informed about more updates and opportunities. Whether it’s during our twice a year convenings or ongoing digital communication, we are excited to share what’s happening with the Berkshire Blueprint 2.0 as a plan, initiative, and framework that we all have a role to play in now, and for years to come.
Photos: Kara Thornton