Background on Iowa's Creative Corridor

Now that Iowa’s Creative Corridor has been released, it is a good time to review why and how we got here, to assist the key step going forward – the internalization of our brand promise:

Target Audience: For those seeking a place with infinite possibility,

Frame-of-Reference: the region from Cedar Rapids to Iowa City along Interstates 380 and 80 in America’s Heartland

Point-of-Difference: is the conduit for a transformative reaction that sparks knowledge to power, learning to living and dreams to reality

Benefit: so each individual, each idea, each business and each city is exponentially more successful. 


We have known for years that the key to global competitiveness is regional collaboration.  The Council on Competitiveness issued a report last year simply called Collaborate.  It is a wealth of insight and information on creating high performance regions.  Michael Langley echoed their findings when he spoke to us in 2009, and Richard Longworth as well in 2010.

As John Lohman noted in his FAQs on this branding process, we chose North Star Destination Strategies from Nashville to lead us in this effort because they had experience with over 130 regions in over 30 states dealing with the political perspectives and new ways of thinking that we needed to adopt to develop a regional mindset and effectiveness:

North Star, based in Nashville, TN, is the only company to combine research, strategy,
creativity and action in one program specifically for communities. They have worked on branding
efforts with over 130 communities and regions in more than 30 states.

North Star presented a 231 page branding report, based on extensive research with over 1500 people in our region and outside our region.  I did a short synopsis of that report, available here.  The full report is available here.

North Star also provided us with a wealth of links to other resources, available here.

We are working on the finishing touches of a short video to make all of this more easily accessible, and will also be loading the complete research report shortly.

Please let me know if you have questions.




3 thoughts on “Background on Iowa's Creative Corridor”

  1. Chuck,
    Just to correct the record, NorthStar is not the only company to combine research, strategy, creativity and action in one program specifically for communities. There are several others, with worldwide experience, including our own Great Destination Strategies, LLC.
    Best regards,
    John Kelsh

  2. On page six of your synopsis of the North Star report, you quote Professor Klaus: _The success of any national and business model for competitiveness in the future will be less based on capital and much more based on talent. I define this transition as moving from capitalism to “talentism”._ I agree that talent is ultimately “where” progress is made, however, I don’t believe one should play down the role of capital. Where capital and talent intersect is where progress becomes tangible and the pie gets bigger for everyone. Maybe the creative corridor should cultivate its ties to local and extra-local sources of capital–with Wall Street looking increasingly disintermediated, now is the time!

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