Communities looking to promote innovation can now inventory their assets through a new “asset map” tool from the North Carolina State Institute for Emerging Issues, RTI International and several other partners.

The InnovateNC Community Innovation Asset Map, unveiled on Thursday. is initially targeted at Asheville, Greensboro, Pembroke, Wilson and Wilmington as well as the N.C. coast.

The IEI calls the tool a “first of its kind,” saying it “encourages collaboration in assessing the quality and inclusiveness of innovation ecosystems, and looks broadly across an entire entrepreneurial landscape.”

The tool is available free of charge at

“The next 20 years are going to be a period where every place — and every person — needs to be ready to relentlessly reinvent themselves,” said IEI Director Leslie Boney in announcing the tool. “Communities need to build on their competitive assets, and this guide lays out the process to do that.”

The interactive tool enables communities – both rural and urban – to collaborate while gathering and the assessing their own “innovation ecosystems.”

At the core of the tool is a series of worksheets addressing information across a wide variety of information from demographics to work force training, support services to infrastructure.

The list includes:

  • Worksheet 1: Demographic and Socioeconomic Community Profile
  • Worksheet 2: Workforce Assets
  • Worksheet 3: Programs for Youth
  • Worksheet 4: Workforce Training Programs
  • Worksheet 5: Apprenticeship Programs
  • Worksheet 6: Buildings and Other Innovation Zones
  • Worksheet 7: Infrastructure Assets
  • Worksheet 8: Mentorship Assets
  • Worksheet 9: Financial Assets
  • Worksheet 10: Economic Assets
  • Worksheet 11: Support Services
  • Worksheet 12: Associations, Networks, Programs, Events
  • Worksheet 13: Tracking Outcomes
  • Worksheet 14: Local and Regional Government Policies
  • Worksheet 15: Champions
  • Worksheet 16: Media
  • Worksheet 17: Additional Assets

RTI helped create the tool set and also interviewed more than 1,000 community leaders to help shape its creation.

“Bringing new ideas to market is critical for creating broad-based transformative growth,” said Wayne Holden, RTI’s president and CEO. “As the anchor institute of Research Triangle Park, RTI invested and developed this tool to help cities and communities around the world and in North Carolina create a path to economic prosperity.”

The NC Department of Commerce’s Board of Science, Technology & Innovation is also a partner in the project.