The purpose of the "Creating a High Performance Economy in Chicago" project is to explore new opportunities for sectoral development. The concept behind this project is that public-private partnerships may be able to stimulate local economic development that contributes to a high performance economy. A high performance economy is one that builds on local business, labor, and infrastructure assets, while simultaneously advancing their quality in order to assure the region's long-term competitiveness.
The research focused on three main tasks:
a. Interviews with key informants in the private, public, and civic sector to identify the interest and willingness to participate in public-private partnerships for economic development.
b. Analysis of similar efforts elsewhere to gain insights into what works and what doesn't.
c. Identification of specific economic development opportunities in Chicago that meet the requirements for a high performance economy.
The conclusions of this research are the following:
1. There is significant support in the Chicago region for public-private development efforts, although previous efforts have left a legacy of caution.
2. The key elements of a development strategy for high performance economic sectors appear to be a strong public-private partnership; significant public support, both through financing and regulatory or organizational efforts; strong private sector involvement based on its own market strengths; and careful analysis and planning to increase the likelihood of success.
3. Six sectors offer significant potential for Chicago's economy. They include opportunities associated with the biotechnology industry; advanced telecommunications; environmental technologies; software development; HDTV; and high speed rail.
4. Further developmental work should be concentrated on the biotechnology and advanced telecommunications industries in order to maximize their potential for Chicago's economy. The other sectors appear to offer smaller, but still significant opportunities for the development of productive public-private partnerships.