Meeting of the Minds 2020 - Critical Impact

Meeting of the Minds 2020 - Critical Impact September 8 - 10 2020

John Melville

John Melville

Collaborative Economics

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About this Speaker

John Melville is CEO of Collaborative Economics, and an advisor to civic leaders nationwide. Over the past 37 years, he has worked with public and private leaders in over 100 communities across the U.S. and abroad, helping them launch concrete strategies and partnerships to improve economic development and regional innovation, workforce development and education, and quality of life. John co-founded Collaborative Economics in July 1993 after a decade as a senior policy analyst with SRI International’s Center for Economic Competitiveness. He holds a B.A. with honors in Political Science from Stanford University, and has co-authored two books on civic entrepreneurship.

He is a national leader in the design and practice of “next generation” industry engagement, helping design and launch a blend of economic development, education, and workforce development strategies. He co-founded the Next Generation Sector Partnership national network ( , and currently serves on the board of the Institute for Networked Communities, the non-profit host organization for Next Gen.

He works directly with business leaders, supporting them as they chair industry-led partnerships. He also supports partners from workforce development, economic development, education, and other community institutions, helping them work productively with business leaders to achieve shared outcomes. He has helped design, launch, and support over a hundred regional industry-led partnerships in diverse industries focused on talent development and other economic development and regional innovation priorities. He has co-authored the Next Gen Training Manual and toolkit, and trained hundreds of practitioners in the Next Gen methodology.

He also co-authored strategic planning and best practice guidebooks on innovative communities (for the Department of Labor's WIRED initiative) and for technological innovation and economic development for use across the country (for the Economic Development Administration). He completed a national best practice scan for the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation to inform their 5-year strategy. He has also been consultant to several other state and regional agencies and organizations, including the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, Chicago Metropolis 2020, the Potomac Conference, and Arizona Strategic Plan for Economic Development and Partnership for a New Economy.

He has led or supported transformational processes (including strategy development, leadership development and organizational design) in a wide variety of regions including Phoenix and other regions of Arizona, several regions of Colorado, Pittsburgh PA, Scranton PA, Harrisburg/York PA, Richmond VA, Fresno CA, St. Louis MO, Orlando FL, Omaha NE, Wyoming, Iowa, North Dakota, San Diego CA, Sonoma County CA, San Luis Obispo CA, and many more. All these projects have included elements focused on talent development/attraction/retention, economic development, quality community development--and the intersections among these attributes. He also led the Collaborative Economics team on the Kellogg Foundation's Stewards of Place project, working directly with university leaders and teams.

He helped design and implement Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network, a nationally-recognized regional collaborative organization, including guiding a strategic planning and visioning process involving more than 1,200 corporate, community, and public-sector leaders. During implementation, he was principal staff to Joint Venture’s 21st Century Education Initiative, which raised more than $35 million as a regional-local partnership to improve Silicon Valley schools. Following the Joint Venture example, he helped launch and/or support dozens of regional collaborative organizations across California and advised similar organizations across the country.

He has helped design, launch, and manage more than ten learning networks of regional partnerships, ranging from state-level networks involving ten to twenty regional partnerships to national networks for regional economic and community development leaders. He specializes in the design of learning experiences, curriculum, how to guides, best practice assessments, tool kits, action clinics, academies, summits and other modes of customized technical assistance to ensure effective launch and implementation of transformative processes at the local and regional levels.

He helped design, launch, and support the Alliance for Regional Stewardship, a network of 40 city-regions focused on transformation processes incorporating and integrating economic prosperity, livable community, inclusive society, and collaborative governance strategies. He co-led semi-annual national gatherings of these city-regions, documented best practices and did comparative analyses, and provided direct consulting to city-regions as they developed and implemented their transformation strategies. He played a similar role in developing the statewide California Stewardship Network. He helped design and execute the first two California Economic Summits.

He was also the Collaborative Economics project leader working with the U.S. Department of Labor and the National Governors Association, designing and providing technical assistance to more than 150 grantees in talent development in energy efficiency, renewable energy, health, logistics, and other industry areas including advanced manufacturing in every region of the country. In this role, he designed and implemented a portfolio of technical assistance strategies, including best practice peer exchanges, national gatherings of practitioners, and briefing materials on key models and implementation strategies.

At SRI, John directed and worked on projects in many regions, including Austin, Texas, Arizona, Florida, and California; as well as internationally, including projects on the economic future of Hong Kong, an assessment of university programs and policies across Europe to encourage in regional innovation for the Universidad Complutense in Madrid, Spain; and industry cluster development in Indonesia.

Based on his experiences working with civic leaders at the regional and community level, John co-authored the book, Grassroots Leaders for a New Economy: How Civic Entrepreneurs are Building Prosperous Communities (Jossey-Bass), and Civic Revolutionaries: Igniting the Passion for Change in America’s Communities (Wylie and Sons/Jossey-Bass). He is author of more than 50 strategic plans for regions and communities, published articles on education and benchmarking, and a report for the Presidents' Commission on Industrial Competitiveness.

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