Director Art Markman- Silver Linings & IC2 Institute

IC2 Director, Dr. Art Markman, is interviewed about “silver linings” for 2021 and the Institute’s work on Startup Grind – platform for research and support for accelerated impact investing.

For this and more episodes, visit HUNTING FOR SILVER LININGS: huntingforsilverlinings.com

Find out more about our research and programs for small or remote communities and how to get involved: info@ic2.utexas.edu.



  • IC2 has gone beyond established urban centers into small towns, small cities, areas that have been isolated and has asked 2 questions:
    • Where is the focus of these communities today?
    • How can you create an ecosystem that is congenial to building businesses and creating wealth for the community?
  • On Covid-19: chaos creates opportunities and especially in thinking about resilience.
  • Previous supply chain optimization efforts had rendered entire communities uncompetitive as they were getting exposed to low cost and other global forces. Today, we are rebuilding more robust and resilient supply chains, revitalizing American cities and communities along the way.
  • The effort to rebuild communities started in the 1990s, when Professor Markman was looking for international sponsors and collaborators.
    • The first such collaborative effort emerged in Scandinavia, in Northern Sweden.
    • Local communities used their natural resource endowment to attract companies.
    • Then these localities decided to spread out the positive impact by collaborating with each other in locating manufacturing, dwelling, support industries, etc. throughout the region and not having it be concentrated in a single location.
    • The job was done! Regional growth started to flourish and spread throughout the region.
  • Another successful program at IC2 covers rural economic recovery initiatives. With the paid support of 70 undergraduate students, IC2 was able to map SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) in rural communities.
  • Launched in March 2020 in response to the growing global social and economic impact, the goal of the Regional Economic Recovery Initiative is to better understand Texas communities and provide evidence-based recommendations for next steps for community planning.
  • Thus was RXL8 born! A Regional Accelerator!
  • Home to Texas is a third initiative at IC2! Changing the world starts at home.  Home to Texas is a summer internship and workforce development program that facilitates University of Texas undergraduates with well-paid internships and experiences designed to help them understand the underlying values of their home communities.
  • The IC2 Institute has partnered with UT Austin’s School of Undergraduate Studies for the program, matching undergraduate students looking for summer work in their hometowns with employers in those locations who are seeking students with fresh and informed perspectives.  First-year (and in some cases second-year) students from all majors are eligible.
  • Launched in the spring of 2019, the program placed nine students in four different
  • communities in its pilot year.  Alumni and community support has been tremendous and the program expanded to about fifty placements in 2020. 


  • As Professor Markman said, “We build communities by using the coral reef as a metaphor.”
  • There has to exist a priori a significant entity that can foster entrepreneurship in a locality.
  • We aim to create an ecosystem that enables “lots of small fish to swim around the reef.”
  • We have to remain agnostic as to who, what, when can be successful.
  • We advise bringing together lots of “expert generalists” who meet frequently and create connections. The spark will emerge naturally from this process.
  • Warning: The reef has to remain interesting for all stakeholders consistently!!!


In large cities, you simply need a coalition of the willing to grow. In smaller communities, you need to adapt and spend more time listening. The reef that will emerge will have to be compatible with the people around you, in each community. Less ego and more influence from within.


Our communities are more successful when the emerging ecosystems talk to each other. In other words, community rejuvenation tends to be more lasting and effective when successful businesses support each other.

Find out more about our research and programs for small or remote communities and how to get involved: info@ic2.utexas.edu.