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EDF Announces TVA Innovation Academy in Oxford

The Oxford and Lafayette County will be one of only 10 communities taking part in the recently launched Tennessee Valley Authority Community Innovation Academy beginning in the spring of 2020.

This program is focused on economic development and dedicated to teaching those in the industry how to create ideas and innovations that launch communities forward toward progress. TVA identified a need for communities to build innovative environments and created this academy to help communities become more adaptive, and successfully plan for future growth and development.

Oxford-Lafayette County’s participation in the TVA Innovation Academy will be a collaborative effort with local representation by Jon Maynard, Oxford-Lafayette County Economic Development Foundation CEO, Allen Kurr, Vice President of Economic Development for the EDF, Wayne Andrews of the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council and Dr. JR Love of the Mclean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement at the University of Mississippi.

These local representatives will participate and assist in the incubation and acceleration of a pivotal plan for our community that will come to life during the course of the six-month program.

“TVA’s Community Innovation Academy will provide 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 Oxford-Lafayette County Economic Development Foundation to help prepare the community catalysts for industry disruptors, and support innovative solutions to foster economic growth.”

TVA has outlined key goals for the program as helping participating communities rethink solutions to be healthier and more resilient economies; supporting participating communities in identifying and creating new income and tax revenue opportunities and providing the framework for community accelerator efforts that incubate new ideas for advancing the quality of life necessary to attract and retain talent.

According to Guillermo Mazier, founder of Collective Intelligence, who will lead the Innovation Academy – communities participating will learn the science of collaboration, design thinking, future forecasting, risk-taking ideas, rapid prototyping and planning methods.

The program will provide communities with a Custom Community Ecosystem map, and a Community Innovation Index, or measurement of their ability to change and innovate in the future.

Jon Maynard

“Economic Development is changing rapidly,” said Jon Maynard, CEO of the Oxford-Lafayette County EDC. “The model that we have relied on for nearly 100 years is not creating economic success in Mississippi. Rural communities are shrinking and opportunities for economic success need to be identified and implemented urgently. We need to embrace our constantly changing economic environment with creative thinking for new sustainable business models and metrics that will identify real success. We need to be thinking and planning in a long term manner.”

Courtesy of the Oxford-Lafayette Economic Development Foundation

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