We are proud to have recently launched a brand new resource for community and economic development with the Janus Institute. Prosperous Places was born out of our shared passion for making the world a better place by using our talents in the realm of community and economic development, as well as our goal of inspiring and empowering others looking to do the same.
The story began in 2014 when we were invited to present at the annual Janus Forum, a concept created by Janus Institute founder Robert Pittman in 2009. The first Janus Forum took place on his porch overlooking Lake Rabun. The relaxed setting and picturesque views of the Northeast Georgia mountains paired with Pittman’s desire to create a space where economic development professionals could choose the topics they wanted to discuss and encourage sharing ideas and best practices worked like a charm. While conferences and lectures have their place, the Janus Forum concept took off with attendees looking forward to the chance to learn from each other.
In 2016, Pittman reached out to us with the opportunity to form a partnership designed to help each other grow and carry out our mission of improving the world we live in. In the beginning, we weren’t quite sure what the final medium would be, but we knew we wanted to work together to build something special that would offer some kind of value to the rest of the world. So we started with our Brand Immersion process so we could really get to know the Janus Institute better, as well as its audiences, and the challenges the organization was facing to see if this would help realize what this project would look like. We worked through our Unique Positioning exercise as well as launched a new website and provided content strategy recommendations. We also had the opportunity to present at the 2017 Janus Forum at Chota Falls, as well as provide social media support throughout the event.
Pittman always had a vision of continuing conversations between the forum events, but wasn’t exactly sure what it would look like and how to keep up the momentum. Over time, he also realized the need to connect the ideas discussed at the Janus Forum with the community at large and help establish best practices that community leaders, elected officials, and others could follow. Oftentimes, these individuals work alongside economic developers but aren’t as knowledgeable about community and economic development best practices and need more information to help make the best decisions for their communities. In 2018, Prosperous Places began to take shape and Pittman’s desire to create a resource where ideas on community and economic development could be shared with the public was realized. After spending some time creating the look and feel of the brand and determining what requirements the website would need to meet, we launched Prosperous Places as a joint venture in early 2019.
“In our 30+ years of being in business, we have worked with a wide variety of industries, but the projects and clients that have always made the biggest impact for us have been when we not only help a business or organization grow but also improve the community that it serves,” says Amanda Sutt, Creative Director and CEO of Rock Paper Scissors. “We love a win-win situation and partnering with the Janus Institute helps us do more of the work that helps our community, our clients and ourselves thrive.”
Prosperous Places will feature a wide variety of content including tips and information drawn from Pittman’s 30-plus years of industry experience, as well as guest blogs from noted economic developers, site consultants, corporate executives, and others with extensive experience and knowledge in community development, such as:
- Joe Tankersley, Writer, Futurist, and former Walt Disney Imagineer
- Bob Fink, Former Rabun County, Georgia Commissioner and Development Authority Board Member
- Captian Alan Price, Former Chief Pilot for Delta Airlines
- Chuck Russell, Chairman and Chief Knowledge Officer, BestWork DATA, LLC
- Melissa Maxcy Wade, President of Glenn Pelham Foundation for Debate Education and former Executive Director of Forensics at Emory University
- Liz Lundeen, Director of Strategic Planning for Glenn Pelham Foundation for Debate Education
The site will also feature discussion forums for visitors to post questions and ideas, as Pittman knows there is great value not only in sharing information but also in using conversation to help key stakeholders find common ground and work together for the better of their communities. In addition, we hope to expand our reach with the launch of a podcast later this year.
“Helping communities become better places to live, work and play with increased economic opportunity for all residents is my passion and I have devoted my career to it,” says Pittman. “It is a great pleasure to partner with a talented organization like Rock Paper Scissors that shares that commitment. Without RPS, we could not have launched our Prosperous Places initiative to promote peer learning and other educational initiatives for community and economic development. They have contributed significant time and energy to our partnership, and they are a joy to work with.”
Community development is something everyone can be a part of, and we look forward to helping spark new ideas with the Janus Institute through Prosperous Places and inspiring all who visit the site to consider how they can contribute to making their own communities a better place to live. Check it out and sign up to receive future updates from Prosperous Places.
Are you in need of assistance to start moving your community in the right direction? Contact us to learn more about our services.