The Indiana Communities Institute (ICI) is Coming to Grant County

The Indiana Communities Institute (ICI) is Coming to Grant County

Together, the Grant County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Grant County Economic Growth Council, Greater Grant County, Indiana Wesleyan University, and the Community Foundation of Grant County are all partnering together to bring a Community Development Course to Grant County.

“Each of these sponsors believe that to remain relevant and, ultimately, to thrive, communities of all sizes must tackle challenges and pursue opportunities comprehensively, creatively, and collaboratively,” said Kylie Jackson, President/CEO at Greater Grant County. “That means, assets and trade-offs must be understood and investments in people and place require increased focus.”

“That’s why we’ve invited Ball State University’s Indiana Communities Institute, in partnership with Creative Insight Community Development, to deliver a 2.5-day Community Development Course to help build a foundation for a stronger and more sustainable Grant County,” said Dawn Brown, President/CEO at the Community Foundation of Grant County.

The Indiana Communities Institute (ICI) at Ball State University, in partnership with Creative Insight Community Development (CICD), will help local communities work together to realize positive change through the Community-Based Action Planning (CBAP) process. The facilitators from both organizations have more than 150 years of community development experience.

CBAP is a participant-oriented, “learn by doing” experience rooted in social science research and built on practical experience. It is based on the principles of co-creation. Succinctly described, co-creation is a democratic method for managing risk and motivating action in support of building stronger, more sustainable places.

The process encourages communities, through inclusive and ongoing engagement, to identify challenges and opportunities and outline a realistic plan to overcome or pursue them. Topics ranging from Social Network Theory to Civic Design to Integrated Storytelling will be covered, among others.

CBAP is approachable, relying on community action with widespread responsibilities and multiple leaders to achieve success. It values bold visions but prioritizes incremental and continuing efforts aimed at building a foundation for future success one step at a time.

“Ongoing changes and the need for new approaches demonstrate the value of community development,” said Charity Bailey, Executive Director at the Grant County Economic Growth Council. “It is necessary for community leadership, both official and unofficial, to undertake the training required to build capacity and help pursue strategies that put people and places first.”

 “Next month, 40 influential leaders in Grant County will come together for this 2.5-day Community Development Course to positively change our community,” continued Bailey. “We’re grateful that 40 local leaders are investing 2.5 days to Grant County’s future. And we look forward to reporting the next steps after the course concludes.”

“Although, the course is currently full, we are excited about what other opportunities 2023 will bring and ways many others can be involved as this course serves as a catalyst for momentum and progress thanks to our 5 collaborative sponsors,” said Scott Miller, Board Chair at Greater Grant County

The ICI, in partnership with CICD, has developed the community development educational experience that reflects current best practices in the field, is rooted in applicable and proven research, challenges participants with new and constructive paradigms, utilizes different and creative teaching techniques, helps establish a common language and shared responsibility, and offers practical takeaways. The learning framework includes:

Foundational Principles: Defining community, growth vs development, capacity building, trust & social capital, etc.

Readiness for Change: Ubiquity of change, myth of status quo, risk, reluctance vs openness, managing diversity, etc.

Community Engagement: Understanding power & conflict, framing issues, engaging contradiction, etc.

Local Economies: Overviews & definitions, waves of change, entrepreneurial ecosystems, export-based theory, etc.

Civic Design: Defining terms, space vs place, elements of place, connectivity, placemaking, design examples, etc.

Integrated Storytelling: Basic principles, community branding, narratives, creative mediums, and methods, etc.

Comprehensive Wealth Framework: Rethinking wealth, capital definitions, stocks & flows, decision making, etc.

Tools & Resources: Community visioning, facilitation tips, placemaking principles, etc.


About Indiana Communities Institute (ICI) at Ball State University:

ICI brings together many of Ball State’s top research and outreach activities to assist Indiana neighborhoods, towns, cities, counties, and regions as they strive to improve life experiences for residents, businesses, and visitors.

This course has already been delivered in 27 other Indiana counties due to a recommendation by Lilly Endowment Inc. Some of those counties are Brown, DeKalb, Fayette, Franklin, Hancock, Madison, Pulaski, Randolph, Ripley, Rush, Tipton, Union, Wabash, and Warren—all touting excellent reviews.

ICI harnesses expertise and resources to help communities, large and small, address modern economic development challenges. Efforts are rooted in the belief that the single most important element in strengthening local economies is attracting and/or retaining talented individuals. ICI’s community-first approach is grounded in research, engaged in practice, and focused on policy.

About Creative Insight Community Development (CICD):

CICD is a consulting group with offices in Arizona, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Texas that specializes in co-creating with communities and local/regional organizations to take advantage of economic and community development opportunities, and to overcome local challenges in highly creative ways. CICD helps communities develop real solutions for real people using state-of-the-art ideas, research, and expertise grounded in community engagement. Although they are often overlooked, CICD believes that rural communities and distressed small-town economies deserve just as much support and attention as large metropolitan areas.

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