GUEST COMMENTARY: Working to make economic vision a reality

2013-06-12T00:00:00Z 2015-07-15T16:07:35Z GUEST COMMENTARY: Working to make economic vision a realityBy Mark Maassel and Kerry Stemler
June 12, 2013 12:00 am  • 

In the sporting world, you often hear: “If you aren’t keeping score, you are only practicing.” Similarly, business people say: “If you don’t measure it, you can’t improve it.”

Indiana’s economic future is a most serious game. It requires keeping score; it demands assessing and evaluating changing circumstances. And continual improvement is simply essential.

The Indiana Chamber, the Northwest Indiana Forum and other regional partners throughout the state, as well as hundreds of Hoosiers who participated in the development of Indiana Vision 2025, are keeping score and measuring. The recent release of the project’s initial report card shows this.

Let us tell you a little more about the initiative, this report card and what it means for all Hoosiers.

Indiana Vision 2025 was developed by a statewide task force of 24 business and community leaders in 2010 and 2011. It seeks to establish Indiana as a “global leader in innovation and economic opportunity where enterprises and citizens prosper.” There are four drivers – outstanding talent, attractive business climate, superior infrastructure, and dynamic and creative culture – that contain 33 goals.

In the report card, there are 60 economic measurements related to these 33 goals. Most include three time periods (example: 2000, 2005 and 2011), ranking Indiana’s performance relative to the other 49 states. There are a few instances in which international comparisons are valid and achievable.

In the most recent year for which information is available for all 50 states, the report card includes the top five states, bottom five states, Indiana’s score and the 50-state average.

In the future, report cards will be released every two years and likely will include grades. While the 2013 version sets the baseline, two factors must be remembered. First, it takes time for public policy and other cultural changes to have an impact. Second, while Indiana strives to improve in these areas, so are the other 49 states and countries around the world. But if we don’t measure, we can’t continually improve.

Overall, while there are positive signs, the key message is that we have a lot of work to do. It is clear that enormous attention must be paid to outstanding talent. That is not only improving K-12 and postsecondary education performance, but also enhancing the skills of thousands already in the workforce.

Future efforts include continued public policy research, implementation of improvements at the local and state levels and a series of additional regional forums later this year.

You can view the report card, rankings summary and overall Indiana Vision 2025 update at

Identify your passions among the 33 goals. Contact the Northwest Indiana Forum or the Indiana Chamber to become part of making Indiana the place to work, live and raise a family.

Mark Maassel is president and CEO of the Northwest Indiana Forum. Kerry Stemler is 2013 chairman of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce board of directors. The opinions are the writers'.

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