For businesses in Iowa, bringing ideas into reality just got a little easier with the creation of the Iowa Innovation Council, a business-led group that has been tasked by the government with developing strategies and long-term plans to make sure Iowa stays competitive in the global business economy.
Formalized when Governor Chet Culver signed legislation in early 2010, the concept of the Iowa Innovation Council was collectively developed by leaders in the advanced manufacturing, biosciences and information technology sectors.
The idea was designed as a way to allow more effective and efficient discussions between the government and business sector to increase Iowa's economic development innovation and entrepreneurial capacity.
With 29 voting members and four ex-officio members, the Council brings together three previously separate business councils that worked with the Iowa Department of Economic Development (IDED) to enhance their own industries. The new, comprehensive group will meet quarterly to advocate policies and programs that will better support enhanced business development and intellectual capital.
Perhaps most striking in the development of the Iowa Innovation Council is the continued emphasis on fostering growth in new and emerging areas of business. In addition, the Council will focus beyond the parameters of traditional economic development, which often focuses solely on a state's natural attributes, and focus more on its innovation-based advantages, or its knowledge-based strengths. This is best exemplified by the inclusion on the Council of the Regent institutions and the community colleges to help determine how to leverage the specialized talent throughout the state.
Administration of the Council will rest with the IDED, which has a long history of supporting Iowa businesses. It will be chaired by the state's Chief Technology Officer and driven by the business community.