Is Your Organization a VDO? Use the VDO Characteristics Assessment Tool To See!
If you've been in the innovation support business for very long, you know there are some organizations that are just hard to describe. They may not be exactly like the commonly accepted definition of some economic development programs or approaches. Part of RIAN’s mission is to establish a definition for these complex or hybrid entities as Venture Development Organizations (VDOs).
Our experience reveals that although VDOs necessarily come in lots of shapes and sizes, they share may characteristics with each other and with other tech-based economic development organizations. The most important characteristic they share is success. VDOs are helping create good jobs in high growth innovation-based ventures.
This self-assessment tool can be used as a simple guide to see which VDO traits your own organization has and which you may want to develop to improve your economic impact and long-term viability. There are 37 questions that should take approximately 15 minutes to complete.
To be considered a true VDO, there are several must-have characteristics – regardless of how you are helping to grow your regional economy – and several other characteristics that the majority of VDOs are likely to share. There is also a third group of traits that are present in many VDOs and may be helpful in their success, but are not present in all.
Other than the core characteristics, there are no hard set rules for which of the traits an organization has to have to be considered a VDO. Your own group may be great at what you do – perhaps serving as an excellent incubator or entrepreneurship program or technology transfer office – but just not meet the core definition of a VDO. That's fine.
Besides providing a shared definition for VDOs, the tool has the goal of improving the performance of all economic development organizations. You may use the results to help explain your organization to prospective stakeholders, clients and funders. You may view some as aspirational to help guide your program's improvement. You may also dismiss some as irrelevant to your organizational goals and regional needs.
To take the VDO Characteristics Self Asssessment, please begin here.