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Whittaker Report

Featured Website: Gartner

By Jeff Vedders

Perplexed about complex IT issues?  Has “IT solution” become an oxymoron?  Wonder what drives a company’s technology decisions?  Check out Gartner, Inc.’s web site at www.gartner.com.

Gartner is a technology research and development firm.  According to their website, they are organized into four sectors: 1) Gartner Research & Advisory Services; 2) Gartner Consulting; 3) Gartner Measurement; and 4) Gartner Community.

We found the Gartner Research & Advisory Services sector to be the most useful.  They publish reports on over 200 research topics including outsourcing, emerging trends and technologies, wireless and mobile technologies, and software.  Special reports, such as the impending acquisition of PWC Consulting by IBM, are periodically available.

Gartner employs over 650 analysts with an average tenure of 10-15 years in technology.  The reports are quite in-depth, but the research is somewhat costly, with reports ranging from $95 to $495 a piece.  However, registration is free, and there are a limited number of reports available for free.

So if you want to learn about a prospect’s business, or if you are working to attract IT companies and need to learn about technology drivers, Gartner should be on your list.

Featured Websites: EDGAR & Digital Librarian

By Jeff Vedders

I thought this month I’d pass on a couple of web sites of interest:

º    Many of you may already be familiar with the SEC’s EDGAR database.  EDGAR (which stands for the Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval system) “performs automated collection, validation, indexing, acceptance, and forwarding of submissions by companies and others who are required by law to file forms with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.”  EDGAR can be found at www.sec.gov/edgar.shtml.

Any U.S. company with at least 500 shareholders and assets of at least $10 million is required to file registration statements, periodic reports, and other forms electronically through EDGAR.  If you’re looking for information on a public company, this site should be a valuable destination.

º    Everyone has a favorite site or two that indexes links on the web, but here’s another one I just discovered recently that you should check out.  It’s called the Digital Librarian (www.digital-librarian.com), and it is a web site designed by a librarian with a wide range of links to everything from business and finance to Judaism to Statistics.  The site also emphasizes academic topics.

Creativity and Economic Development

By Dean Whittaker

Economic development professionals are well aware of how valuable creativity and innovation are to corporations and communities. In the global economy, a company’s commitment to innovation gives it the competitive edge, and the creative workers such companies need like to live in lively communities that celebrate the creative spirit.  

Of course, economic development practitioners also have to school themselves in creativity and innovation for another reason: their livelihood depends on it as they continually look for new and better ways to accomplish their goals.  What sparks the creative impulse? Can it be stimulated or does it just happen? What can we do to enhance our own creative energy and that of our organizations?  These and other questions are answered in an interesting website (http://members.ozemail.com.au/~caveman/Creative/index2.html).  This site provides a portal to a number of useful resources on creativity and innovation.

Measuring Sustainability

By Katie Terpstra

Sustainable development is a strategy by which communities seek economic development approaches that also benefit the local environment and quality of life.  It has become an important guide to many communities that have discovered that traditional approaches to planning and development are creating, rather than solving, societal and environmental problems.

Efficient and Integrated?  Once the strategy is implemented, it is important for a community to be able to measure the degree to which its economic, environmental, and social systems are efficient and integrated.  This can best be measured through the use of sustainability indicators.

These indicators can incorporate several broad categories such as Economy, Environment, Society/Culture, Government/Politics, Resource Consumption, Education, Health, Housing Quality of Life, Population, Public Safety, Recreation, and Transportation. 

To measure the degree of efficiency and integration, a set of numerous indicators is often required.  One example of an environmental indicator is the analysis of CO2 emissions from transportation sources to measure air quality.  To view a list of indicators currently in use in communities across the country, go to www.sustainable.doe.gov/measuring/mewhat.shtml. 

Organize and Research.  A community could select many sustainability indicators, but the trick is in selecting the best ones.  Developing a strong list of indicators combines these factors: what type of audience the indicator report will have, how much time and resources are available to research the data, how many issues are involved, and what specific needs the community should consider.  For further information on organizing indicators, see www.sustainablemeasures.com/Indicators/Organize.html. 

Once the list of indicators is selected, it’s time for the fun part—the research!  For a list of indicator data sources so your community can start measuring the area’s sustainable development, go to www.sustainablemeasures.com/Indicators/SourceList.html.

Make Tom Proud.  Implementing, measuring and researching sustainable development in your community can be a large task, but it is also a very rewarding one when you keep the end goal in mind.  In the words of Thomas Jefferson, “Then I say the earth belongs to each generation during its course, fully and in its own right, no generation can contract debts greater than may be paid during the course of its own existence.”

Sources & Links:

º    www.sustainable.doe.gov: U.S. Department of Energy—“Smart Communities Network”

º    www.sustainablemeasures.com: Sustainable Measures is an organization that develops sustainability indicators for communities, companies, regional organizations and government agencies.

º    www.un.org/esa/sustdev: United Nations Sustainable Development

º    www.iisd.org: International Institute for Sustainable Development.