Genesis Group focuses on common themes

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Positive transformational change occurs when we ask the right questions and generate actionable information from the vast amounts of data available at our fingertips.

As the Genesis Group has learned from its recent series of essays called Writing Tomorrow’s Stories Today, crafting those right questions is essential to plotting the proper azimuth for our region.

Our essays were the second step in a journey that began last fall with brainstorming sessions involving nearly 100 volunteers and area leaders/influencers who examined how Genesis could best sustain its dual mission of uniting business and community leaders and synergizing efforts to propel the Mohawk Valley into the future. 

The volunteers shared a keen interest in exploring the area’s success stories and wondered how underlying approaches could be more deeply applied throughout the region. 

In the past six months Tomorrow’s Stories have explored topics foundational to the area’s future and have been written by Genesis volunteers from divergent walks of life. The project has highlighted the need for collaborative approaches as we look to what lies ahead in the next five years and beyond.

Peter Lennon, a retired U.S. Army major general and author of our essay on health and wellness, characterized the many commonalities across our essays as a “network of common themes and connective tissue.” 

One of those common themes was big data. The study of big data, or data analytics, kicked off the Tomorrow Stories series when author Frank Behlmer explored big data’s practical application in business, industry, community service and education. He called for the creation of a Regional Center Of Excellence (RCOE) for data analytics for the Mohawk Valley. 

By joining efforts already under way at area colleges and universities and expanding the study of big data collection and analysis, the area could not only create and train a pool of local students equipped to meet the demand for future jobs, but also arm area businesses, industries, policy makers, and service providers with the informed analysis needed to innovate and succeed in the economic and social ecosystem of the decades ahead.

Our essays, and the work that went into them, have inspired Genesis to chart a more action-oriented, project-based course. Today, we’re excited to share news about a series of community round tables designed to help shape the critical questions, spark the creative dialogue, and formulate the structured framework necessary for action and sustained innovation.

The round table series will be called Mohawk Valley Tomorrow, with initial topics being those addressed in our essays: economic development, housing, agriculture, education and health and wellness. The events will provide an opportunity to learn what’s working in those fields and ask questions integral to future success for both your enterprise and the region overall.

Looked at in another way, we’ll be exploring how the use of data and innovation can unlock and widen the doors to the Mohawk Valley’s future. An example could be the RCOE-inspired use of data to study agricultural trends, changing weather patterns, and generational change in family farming in the Mohawk Valley. The result could be data-based transformation of how locally produced products from the area’s leading enterprise are identified, marketed and distributed to an evolving population.

We’ll examine similar approaches during future round tables, with the underlying recognition that the area is stronger when it assumes a regional approach, sharing resources, talents and people power.

We want to thank all those who participated in the brainstorming sessions and the Tomorrow Stories authors. Their insight and enthusiasm have helped transform how we view the talents, resources and opportunities of the region.

The round tables take their inspiration from the founder of Genesis, the late Joseph R. Carucci, whose vision was to promote and sustain a shared sense of purpose in imagining and fostering a bright future for the Mohawk Valley. Look for program details soon. We hope you’ll join us in that continuing adventure.

John Dye, a retired journalist, is a Genesis Group volunteer and co-chair of the Writing Tomorrow’s Stories Today project. Online at
www.thegenesisgroup.org.

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