3D Printer at Conexus printing blue shape

Conexus Strategic Plan

Indianapolis, IN

Conexus Indiana is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to developing the advanced manufacturing and logistics organization in Indiana. 



Heading into its eleventh year, Conexus had hired a new CEO (formerly the COO of Angie’s List) with a bold new vision for the organization. The organization’s role in workforce development was uncertain - although they had created several important programs, other organizations were more clearly positioned to lead that work. Meanwhile, new issues related to industry 4.0 were arising and no organization was stepping up to help companies prepare. Furthermore, the Conexus Industry Councils had significant accomplishments, but were in need of a new focus for future impact.



Fourth Economy Consulting facilitated a five-month strategic planning process during which we:

  • Conducted a deep dive into the data to understand the future of the advanced manufacturing and logistics industry, and, in particular, the impact that automation may have on the industry.

  • Facilitated human-centered design sessions with key stakeholders throughout the state, as well as the Industry Councils, to develop ideas on how Conexus could best support the industry. This was done in partnership with SmallBox

  • Worked closely with a Steering Committee, the CEO, and staff to develop, vet, and refine recommendations for the future of the organization.



The final plan articulated clear goals and initiatives around four strategic pillars: Talent Continuum, Industry 4.0, Image and Awareness, and Networked Community. The plan has already helped Conexus secure support from philanthropic and governmental partners. It also allowed the leadership team to clearly define the next senior staff hires that were needed to implement the plan and allowed the organization to attract top talent for those roles. In late 2019, Conexus engaged our team to further explore the manufacturing-related innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem. This analysis identified a handful of gaps that are holding back start-up and scale-up manufacturers. They are now acting on those identified gaps and the recommended actions that we developed. 


Business/Strategic Plan






Fourth Economy struck a very effective balance between aspiration and practicality. Fourth Economy understood our vision but also recognized resource and timing constraints.

-Mark Howell, CEO