Representatives with Catoosa County government, the city of Ringgold and Catoosa County Economic Development Authority participated in TVA’s Community Innovation Academy and Pitch Event.

Developed by TVA Economic Development and Guillermo Mazier, founder of Collective Intelligence and vice president of Global Innovation at Conway Inc., this program is designed to assist Valley communities in solving complex community problems by activating innovation elements critical to building more resilient and sustainable communities.

Over the course of 10 months, nine participating communities completed ecosystem maps, performed community innovation capacity assessments, engaged in hours of collaboration concept sessions which led to identifying a critical community problem and incubating a solution that would solve it and in turn positively change their local economies.

“We are seeking ways to provide services for our neighbors with out-of-the-box solutions,” said Catoosa County Economic Development Authority Director Keith Barclift. “Through the Innovation Academy we learned to identify and assess a problem within the community and formulate actionable items and solutions to tackle the problem.”

Each community presented its top ideas and solutions aimed at solving the community problem during the Leveraging Brilliant Ideas + Collaboration to Change Communities Virtual Pitch Event on Oct. 22. Community teams sought resources (i.e. feedback, introductions, connections, program funding) from the pitch event judges and audience members to strengthen their solution pathway.

Catoosa County’s pitch idea is “A New Prescription for Workforce Housing,” with a vision toward identifying where to build future residential housing and to update zoning ordinances that will allow for mixed-use developments. In anticipation of exponential growth over the next 20 years, workforce training centers, childcare facilities and workspace for entrepreneurs will also be considered in areas of future residential growth.

“This was an awesome opportunity to work with our community partners and learn about the strengths and opportunities for improvement in economic development,” said Catoosa County Manager Alicia Vaughn. “I am proud of the way we are able to collaborate with our cities in the county to improve the quality of life for our citizens.”

“Working with Keith Barclift and Alicia Vaughn on this very exciting Community Innovation Academy was a real eye-opener,” said Ringgold City Manager Dan Wright. “Keith and Alicia are so bright and have a huge heart to serve the citizens of Catoosa County. It has been my honor to get to know each of them better, along with all the other communities that participated in the academy.”

“In this ever-changing world, a community’s ability to innovatively and collaboratively address community challenges is crucial. TVA Economic Development is pleased to assist Valley communities in further exploring their challenges and recognizing innovative solutions to create, grow and support community competitiveness for job creation and economic growth,” said TVA Senior Vice President of Economic Development John Bradley.

“Companies and talent alike are increasingly looking to locate or grow in communities that welcome change, embrace creativity and build innovative environments,” Mazier said. “I’m proud to work with TVA’s Community Innovation Academy because through this initiative we can help those participating explore creative collaborations and solutions to make their community more resilient, competitive and future ready,”

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