Regional System Engagement Pilot Rolls-Out
Community Members Supports Rural Development in South Dakota
Tightly knit, friendly, supportive and engaged are some of the words that define rural communities, but what about creating prospering business and well-functioning strategies? Dakota Resources, together with the Bush Foundation and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, launched the Regional System Engagement Pilot January 25 in Aberdeen, SD.
The purpose of the engagement is to help community and state leaders and researchers in South Dakota explore ways to improve community problem solving capacity, community vitality measurement, and leadership support through the testing of an innovative weaving of systems mapping tools – to help all of us better understand, manage, measure and thereby lead complex community change initiatives. The combination of tools includes (1) the well-researched and documented community capitals framework (CCF) for community vitality analysis, strategy and measurement (provides the ability to ascertain base levels to measure and track progress); (2) a systems thinking (ST) lens (informed by data indicators from Compass and Compass-like community indicator systems Bush has supported in South Dakota) to identify and analyze the interconnections, patterns and trends in systems, and find leverage points for aligned action; and (3) effective community conversation and engagement techniques to build and maintain inclusive community involvement.
Leadership Team members from Faulk County and Prairie Vision (Aberdeen Area) are committed to participate in the engagement pilot. This year-long experiment in 2013 will inform the Foundation, its partners, community leaders/members in the pilots, and the community development and philanthropic practice/research field how the combined systems mapping tools can mesh together and work to improve (or not) the ability and capacity of community-based leadership and their funding partners (Foundation and state government) to understand, manage, measure and assist community leadership with the complexities of community change work that is aimed at sustaining and strengthening community vitality.