Economic development: an app for that

| Print |  Email
The Latest
Wednesday, May 22, 2013

 

BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

05.22.13 Blog iPad02Sean Robbins, CEO of Greater Portland Inc., dropped by the OB offices yesterday to demonstrate a new economic development app aimed at marketing the Portland region through storytelling. The Greater PDX For Business app, which launches today, was developed by digital marketing agency Storycode.

Economic development agencies continue to take a "very antiquated and static approach to marketing," said Robbins. “Statistics and rankings don’t sell communities. Stories sell.” 

Robbins, it should be noted, has a penchant for telling stories. During a Greater Portland Inc. luncheon last year, he delivered an out-of-the-box keynote narrating the very personal life stories of his grandparents and parents and how they progressively improved their economic standing.

Back at OB, with the aid of his iPad mini, Robbins touch-screened his way through the app, which is organized around 6 “chapters" propelling the Portland narrative: economy, innovation, cost, education, community and exports/manufacturing.  A model of “data visualization,” the app features creative representations of all kinds of data comparing Portland to other cities, such as an interactive footprint depicting five-year growth in the number of people who walk to work: Portland, 12.2%, San Jose -3.7%.

The app also features six Oregon CEOs talking about why they chose to locate or grow their companies in Oregon, including Icebreaker USA CEO Lisa Thompson, Raghu Raghavan from Act-On Software, and Urban Airship’s Scott Kveton. 

The result is a comprehensive 21st century marketing tool that combines the look and feel of a tourism ad campaign with the data sets and rankings companies and CEOs are looking for.

Greater Portland Inc. has had its eye on such an app for some time, but the expense was prohibitive, says Greater Portland Inc. marketing director Maggie Davis.  Then Storycode, which was recently acquired by TigerLogic, stepped up with a philanthropic offer; the company would build the app for free, although costs will accrue going forward.

Storycode, of course, is a member of Portland's burgeoning software/mobile development business cluster, a cluster featured on the new mobile app.

Linking individual businesses, economic clusters and cities is one of the goals driving the app project. Robbins says he wants to cut through all the "noise" and divisions surrounding local economic development — noise that includes unproductive competition between different cities and the perennial debate about whether quality of life or traditional metrics such as employment and taxes are more important in growing the local economy.

Economic development apps aren't new, but most focus on a single aspect such as land or permitting, says Robbins.

Greater PDX For Business is the first to focus on selling an entire community, he says. "We're narrating a better story."

Linda Baker keeps tabs on CEOs and public policy issues.

 

More Articles

Brain Storm

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY CAMILLE GRIGSBY-ROCCA

Can the brave new world of neurotechnology help an OHSU surgeon find a cure for obesity?


Read more...

Balancing Act

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY DAN COOK

The Affordable Care Act has triggered a rush on health care plan redesign, a process fraught with hidden costs and consequences.


Read more...

Preserving the Legacy

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

A New York floral and gift business takes on the iconic Harry & David brand.


Read more...

Staffing Challenge

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

A conversation with Greg Lambert, president of Mid Oregon Personnel Services.


Read more...

Downtime with Debra Ringold

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Dean of the Atkinson Graduate School of Management, Willamette University


Read more...

Farm in a Box

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Most of the food Americans consume is trucked in from hundreds of miles away. Eric Wilson, co-founder and CEO of Gro-volution, wants to change that. So this past spring, the Air Force veteran and former greenhouse manager started work on an alternative farming system he claims is more efficient than conventional agriculture, and also shortens the distance between the consumer and the farm.


Read more...

Urban renewer

Linda Baker
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
UnknownBY LINDA BAKER   

One year after he was appointed chair of the Portland Development Commission, Tom Kelly talks about PDC's longevity, Neil Kelly's comeback and his new role as Portlandia's landlord.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS