City Vitals 2.0
CEOs for Cities published an updated version of the City Vitals research, which looks at a broad range of metrics in the 51 largest metro regions of the United States to equip them with the means to become more competitive and vibrant—using measurements from the solid, such as college attainment, to the less easily defined weirdness index or Internet search variety.
City Vitals research framework benchmarks city/regional performance in the four areas most vital to CITY success: Connections, Innovation, Talent, and Your distinctiveness.
We believe that given the complex, interconnected problems that cities and regions face, it is critical to first research, frame, and organize work that puts a focusing lens on the city and region, and helps to see and understand the critical levers for city and regional success. We believe that framing is critically important, because, as Wayne Dyer has noted, “if you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
We also believe that once the issues are framed and the levers of success are identified, it’s equally important to motivate, mobilize, focus, and accelerate action that can show demonstrable and measurable progress on the critical success levers. City Dividends is our signature action agenda. We focus our action agenda on City Dividends and Dividend Prize competitions, premised on our research and experience that measurable progress, or “moving the needle,” on targeted work reaps huge economic growth dividends for cities, and accelerates movement on important goals. City Dividends is based on what Harvard Professor Teresa Amabile calls the “progress principle”- the single most important motivator and catalyst of positive action is making progress and showing forward momentum in meaningful work.
Finally, we believe that it is important not only to frame and act but also to connect and engage. Cities must always be thinking ahead and learning from the best ideas and practices from all sectors, leaders at all levels, and cities, regions, states, and countries throughout the nation and the world. The world is coming at us at lightning speed, so this will require constant learning, change, and adaptation. As a 2012 McKinsey Global Institute report noted, “Be connected. Rather than seeing each other city as competition, building strong connections to other cities can become a collective strength…There are potentially large benefits from being able to tap into the experience of other cities.” The cities that will win in the new networked economy are those that make their boundaries porous to new ideas and talent and demonstrate the humility to understand that there is always something more to learn from someone else, somewhere else.
The future belongs to those cities and regions who can frame their opportunities and challenges, act in ways that demonstrate measurable progress, and connect and engage with the smartest people and the smartest ideas in the most places and in the most ways.