New state economic development website raises the bar

If you are thinking about how to deploy a dashboard for your economic development organization, take a good look at the new Performance Metrics platform from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD).

Dashboards like this are a popular way to share information on government program performance. Economic development organizations are increasingly developing their own dashboards or transparency portals to provide better data on incentive use and program outcomes.

The TNECD Performance Metrics platform’s purpose, according to COO Ted Townsend, is to “serve as a valuable resource for citizens who want to engage with TNECD.” Transparency advocates within Tennessee have praised the new dashboards for making “data useful to ordinary citizens” and showing how the TNECD is working to bridge the gap from where the state’s economy is to where it wants to be.

The site includes 40 interactive dashboards that track economic data and initiatives tied to TNECD’s strategic plan. Key performance indicators (KPIs) on each dashboard provide historical data and trends. The data is generally searchable by city, county, and region. The site also provides definitions for the KPIs, a glossary of terms, and a schedule of planned data updates. Where appropriate, program descriptions, expected outcomes and links to additional program information are provided. The Main Street Program page is a nice example

We know a tremendous amount of quality data work likes behind dashboards like this. However, we think the improvement in transparency and accountability is well worth the effort. Beyond that, we are all engaged in economic development because we care deeply about our communities and want to make them better places for residents to live, work and do business. The TNECD performance metrics platform offers a great model for communicating what EDOs are doing and why.

The public primarily knows TNECD through major jobs announcements. But these dashboards tell the fuller story of our department and shed more light on the hard work that goes into our wide range of initiatives.

TNECD Commissioner Bob Rolfe

 

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