The Columbus Partnership (Partnership) is a CEO group comprised of 80 leaders from the region’s largest companies and institutions. The organization is charged with aligning business leadership behind the vision of Columbus, Ohio, becoming the most prosperous metropolitan area in the country in terms of both economic and social opportunity. Under the umbrella of the Partnership is One Columbus, the economic development organization for the 11-county Columbus region, and Smart Columbus, which works at the intersection of technology and community good. Partnership leaders recognized the lack of alignment across the entities comprising its unique organizational structure and set out to address the issue over a six-month period in 2022.
With this goal in mind, the Partnership engaged TIP Strategies to assist with aligning regional economic development efforts. TIP provided expert advice on topics such as agenda setting for key meetings and organizational management. In addition to participating in senior leadership meetings, consultants facilitated a half-day retreat with the Partnership focused on the immediate future of the Columbus region. This included a presentation of relevant global and national trends and a discussion of the area’s economic development strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. As part of this facilitation, TIP utilized interactive polling to capture members’ views on competitiveness, engagement, and resilience. Respondents identified the importance of addressing challenges in areas such as housing, transportation, education, and talent that have a direct impact on the region’s economy. From the survey results and subsequent small group topical discussions, the following next steps emerged: 1) determining how the Partnership contributes to the region’s economic growth as well how that contribution is measured, 2) rethinking how members and external stakeholders are involved in the Partnership’s work, and 3) creating a structure for identifying priorities in support of economic development across various initiatives. TIP also supported the program design of the Partnership’s two-day retreat focused on creating a longer-term vision for the organization and the region.