The true value of an asset map will be judged by how it is utilized in a strategic fashion to advance the region’s efforts to build an innovation-based economy. In some cases, the next step will be to launch a strategic planning process. In other cases, where a development plan is underway, the next step will be to revise the existing strategy to reflect any “gaps” discovered through the mapping. The key point is that asset mapping is not an academic exercise—it is a foundational effort that can significantly enhance a region’s development efforts.
At its most powerful, asset mapping is about understanding the relationship between assets. A fully-executed asset map will enable decision-makers, for example, to know whether a large medical facility located in the region has a well-developed set of relationships with researchers at area universities, or whether such connections will need to be made in order for to support an emerging biomedical cluster. Mapping is intended to promote connections or relationships between individuals, between individuals and organizations, and between organizations.
In sum, the asset mapping process is a means of assessing available regional assets that will indicate ways to better link and strengthen these assets in order to support an effective innovation-based economic development strategy.