Starting in about 2010 and accelerating after EDA’s overhaul of the CEDS Content Guidelines in 2015, practitioners, consultants, and academics have been working to improve performance measurement and incorporate “SMART goals” into the CEDS framework. SMART goals—Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Based--can help communities decide which “needles to move” and how much to move them.
This brief discusses the benefits and potential costs of using SMART goals as the framework for CEDS research, strategic planning, implementation, and evaluation. Different approaches to SMART goals are outlined using data exercises to illustrate common CEDS topics such as competitiveness, resilience, and equity. It concludes with recommendations to CEDS planners on how to decide if SMART goals are the appropriate framework for their own CEDS.