UNI’s Institute for Decision Making assists Iowa's growth
As one of the 12 programs housed under UNI’s Business and Community Services, the Institute for Decision Making (IDM) is big on economic and community development. The team of five primarily works with communities and economic development organizations, helping them strategically grow their communities.
In addition to delivering strategic planning services to communities and local nonprofit organizations, IDM also conducts economic development-related research that helps economic developers and communities understand their situation and the impact of their efforts. The IDM team also administers the Heartland Basic Economic Development Course, an intense learning and networking experience for new economic developers. In the past three years, more than 250 people from the Midwest have attended the course.
In many areas, business attraction was once the major economic development activity, and now it’s workforce attraction. Housing has also become a big part of economic development. IDM has to keep up with best practices. We have to see what others are doing so we can take ideas to our clients.”
IDM has served clients from both rural and urban areas, touching over 800 communities and organizations across Iowa in its more than 30 years of existence. A few of IDM’s recent clients are WeLead West Liberty, Thrive Knoxville, Iowa Heartland Habitat for Humanity and the Cedar Falls Tourism and Visitors Bureau.
IDM team members are also involved in statewide initiatives, like Empower Rural Iowa, the Rural Development Council and Professional Developers of Iowa.
“The focus of economic development has changed with the economy,” Program Manager Karla Organist said. “In many areas, business attraction was once the major economic development activity, and now it’s workforce attraction. Housing has also become a big part of economic development. IDM has to keep up with best practices. We have to see what others are doing so we can take ideas to our clients.”
Through research and experience, IDM keys in on trends at the forefront of economic development. That makes the organization a valuable resource for communities and organizations in Iowa looking for newer and better ways to encourage economic development.
“We always try to stay on the cutting edge of trends and techniques,” Organist said. “What challenges are organizations and communities facing? What can we do to help them move forward? We help them understand the current situation and plan for the future in a way that works for them.”
To learn more, visit IDM’s website at https://idm.uni.edu/.