GCP Announces Participation in TVA ED Community Innovation Academy

Greeneville, Tennessee – Greene County is one of 8 communities taking part in this year’s TVA Economic Development Community Innovation Academy, a program and experience to help economic developers create breakthrough ideas together to better their communities.

Developed by TVA Economic Development and Guillermo Mazier, Founder of Collective Intelligence and VP of Global Innovation for Conway Data Inc., the Academy aids in unlocking the tools, tactics and skills to more effectively and collaboratively solve community problems with the goal of sparking more economic growth and shared community prosperity. 

Greene County’s participation in the TVA Innovation Academy is a collaborative effort with Academy local representation by Jeff Taylor, President and CEO of the Greene County Partnership, Mark Stevans, Director of Special Projects for the First Tennessee Development District, Paige Mengel, CFO of Greeneville Light & Power, and a Community Innovation A-Team back in each community. The Greene County Partnership is the initiative lead.

Over a course of nine months, participating communities are completing community ecosystem maps, performing innovation capacity assessments and engaging in hours of interactive working sessions to identify a critical community challenge and incubating a solution that would solve it and in turn positively affect their local economies.

The Academy will culminate on October 21 in Nashville, TN with a pitch presentation by each participating community outlining an innovative solution to a proposed problem within their community. Teams will be seeking resources (i.e. feedback, introductions, connections, program funding) from the pitch event judges and audience members to strengthen their solution pathway.

“TVA’s Community Innovation Academy provides participating Valley communities the opportunity to explore fresh and transformational approaches to competitiveness in the economic development industry,” said Heidi Smith, TVA General Manager, Global Business. “We are proud to partner with the Greene County Partnership and Greene County to help prepare the community catalysts for industry disruptors and support innovative solutions to foster economic growth.”

“Cities and their community networks are incredible vectors to solve complex economic development problems. The growing rate of global change and unpredictable business environments present a profound challenge to our ability to plan, manage and grow our communities these days.  Companies and talent alike are increasingly looking to locate or grow in communities that welcome change, embrace creativity and build innovative environments. Challenges accelerated by the Covid 19 pandemic like workforce availability, small business readiness, corporate growth/expansion and inequality have grown exponentially more complex. How communities effectively respond to those challenges requires new thinking, new models and new collaborations. By applying community innovation, we can help places like Greene County positively impact their long-term economic future,” said Guillermo Mazier, Founder Collective Intelligence and VP Global Innovation at Conway, Inc. 

“We’re both proud and excited to be apart of this remarkably innovative program” said Jeff Taylor, President and CEO of the Greene County Partnership. “By partnering with the First Tennessee Development District and Greeneville Light & Power, we can identify common community problems, and with the help of the Community Innovation Academy, we’ve been able to develop appropriate solutions that are conducive to expanding and diversifying Greene County’s economy.”

The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power companies serving 10 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. TVA receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity. In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation. More information is available at TVA.com.

The Greene County Partnership is a joint venture of the Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Board, Tourism Council, Keep Greene Beautiful and Education & Workforce Development. The organization actively promotes, preserves and enhances the quality of life and economic well being of all Greene Countians by providing collective leadership and serving as a facilitator, catalyst and unifying force to achieve common community goals. The Partnership is a highly effective organization for building community consensus and has become a model for other communities wanting to form similar organizations across the country.