By Angie Gheesling
The Middle Georgia Innovation Project recently hosted a Future Summit with over 120 invested stakeholders in attendance. The Summit provided an opportunity to test drive the strategic actions being discussed over the past nine months which will position Houston County and Middle Georgia as a “Software Center of Excellence” and shape a final roadmap report which will jumpstart the development of an Innovation Corridor in Middle Georgia.
The key strengths found throughout Middle Georgia being used to build this case are:
• Robins Air Force Base (RAFB): The Software Engineering Group has been designated a “Software Center of Excellence.” Learn more about Innovation at RAFB: Robins Innovation – We’re better together.
• Strength in knowledge creation: Middle Georgia outperforms other case study regions in this area which establishes to what extent a region’s population and labor force are able to engage in innovative activities.
• Rapidly growing technical and computer science sectors
• Proximity to Atlanta and an emerging regional identity
A polling exercise was incorporated into the summit where the following questions were asked:
• Is creating a Middle Georgia Innovation Corridor a promising idea?
71% responded, “definitely, great promise.
• How important do you think is an Industry 4.0 focus?
95% agreed that it is important.
• How long will it take to build an innovation ecosystem?
Most respondents agreed 5-10 years.
• How urgent is it to implement the MG Innovation Roadmap?
84% responded, critically important, need to start now.
• Can the region become an innovation hub?
96% responded, yes.
• What is the most logical geographic focus of a Middle Georgia innovation corridor?
Most responded the logical corridor extends from Houston to Macon-Bibb.
Recently, Jump-Starting America identified 102 urban communities that are plausible next-generation tech hubs, all with large populations, highly educated workforces, and a low cost of living. Warner Robins made this list!
Going forward, the project will focus on key regional outcomes that can be achieved over the next five years. Those may include:
• Create an organization that fosters innovation diffusion across the region via resource sharing – and build the ecosystem via networking.
• Purposely build innovation in each community across the 11-county region and focus on diversity.
• Identify spin-off industries and activate venture capitalists and community capital.
• Expand technology-based curriculums into all levels of education (K-12 to college) in order to build a more skilled workforce that can better support the region’s industries.
• Build collaboration between large and small businesses/employers as well as between counties – use tools such as demonstrations and peer-to-peer learning to expand Industry 4.0 offerings.
• Continuously improve the region’s “Quality of Life” and tell “our story” to the world.
To learn more: https://lab2.future-iq.com/middle-georgia-innovation/
To watch the Future Summit meeting: Future Summit MGIP
Get involved by contacting: Angie Gheesling @ firstname.lastname@example.org