Chamber Executive Article Archive

A Note from Sheree Anne

By Sheree Anne Kelly



It’s often said that there are two types of innovation: exploitation and exploration. It’s common to witness and pursue the former where we borrow, tweak or full-on steal another group’s efforts. There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, it’s often a great way to add life to stale programs or overhaul your chamber’s efforts.

Exploration can be a harder task. Instead of reacting to external disruptors, can you find a way to disrupt your own chamber? At ACCE, we’re thinking about innovation and disruption for the entire industry.

The first pillar of ACCE’s new strategic plan ensures that we continue to serve as a center of excellence for chambers. Currently, we’re reviewing and updating our programs, resources, samples and even our Certified Chamber Executive (CCE) body of knowledge to ensure that what we share and teach is forward-leaning and best in class. But we’re also exploring how we can innovate from within.

What Chamber Innovations are We Seeing?
ACCE’s ground-breaking research, the Horizon Initiative, uncovered nine influences shaping the future of chambers. One critical to the future of our industry is resource alignment. Ensuring that your time, energy, and other resources are focused on your leading priorities. Smart chambers ensure that their missions focus on solving the greatest challenges in their communities. Here are a couple of trends we’re seeing in this area:   

•  Building healthy communities: Chamber missions cover critical areas like economic development, talent, education, public policy, among other core functions. We’re seeing an increase in chamber missions focused on building holistic, healthy communities. In fact, the trend has increased to where we hosted our first Healthy Communities Fellowship this year, to build skills and share best practices with a group of 10 chamber executives already embarking on this work. Defining “healthy” can be built to suit your community’s greatest needs and opportunities, whether it’s parks and recreation, access to mental health resources or addressing an opioid epidemic.

•  Rethinking funding sources: We know the nature of membership organizations is changing and many are rethinking membership and funding models. Chambers with strong community-focused missions are increasingly leveraging an aligned, intentional 501 (c)(3) chamber foundation for mission-driven work. This requires diligence and a long-term focus. Foundations aren’t a short-term revenue fix. But if done wisely, they can add real community impact. We’re building programs and resources to help chambers in this area. 

We’ll Continue to Share Innovations with You

At #ACCE19, we’ll be showcasing chambers innovating and disrupting their former business models. One of our keynote speakers, Henry Timms, will share the latest research on how shifting power dynamics are changing how businesses and chambers will need to approach their work. I look forward to seeing you in Long Beach, July 14–17, for these and more trends.

As we uncover new ideas, we’ll share them with you here in Chamber Executive magazine, in our professional development programs and through our other communication channels. Be sure you’re following us on your favorite social media platforms to stay up-to-date. We’re on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn—@ACCEHQ.

What innovations are you seeing or trying in your own chamber? I’d love to hear from you.

Looking for innovation inspiration? Here’s a list of TedTalks that focus on
the roots of innovative ideas:


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