The Shoals One of Ten Communities Participating in TVA’s Community Innovation Academy

The Shoals Chamber of Commerce, Shoals Economic Development Authority and the University of North Alabama are proud to announce that the Shoals will be one of only ten communities taking part in the recently launched Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) 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.
As the demand for innovation increases along with technology and the evolution of our work structure, TVA identified a need for communities to build innovative environments and created the Academy program to help communities become more adaptive and successfully plan for future growth and development.
The Shoals’ participation in the TVA Innovation Academy will be a collaborative effort with local representation by Janyce Fadden, Director of Strategic Engagement at the University of North Alabama College of Business; Caitlin Holland, President of the Shoals Chamber of Commerce; and Kevin Jackson, President of the Shoals Economic Development Authority. These local representatives will participate and assist in the incubation and acceleration of a pivotal plan for the Shoals 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. We are proud to partner with the Shoals to help prepare the community catalysts for industry disruptors, and support innovative solutions to foster economic growth,” said Heidi Smith, Interim Vice President, TVA Economic Development.
Smith 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 our ability to change and innovate in the future.”
“The very definition of ‘economic development’ is changing rapidly,” said Shoals Chamber President Caitlin Holland. “We need to embrace innovation, entrepreneurship, and new sustainable business models that will create measurable, long-term success. We are excited to be a part of this program and for the opportunity to work with TVA to revitalize our local economy.”