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If you ask 100 CEO's if they want to be an innovative company, you can expect 100 affirmatives. If you ask the same 100 CEO's what methods they plan to use in order to innovate, you can expect uncertainty. LUMA Institute helps solve that.


In 2013, most anyone who had a hand in real estate development was at an inflection point. For several turbulent years, the global economy was in a deep recession. In American real estate, no one knew when the economy would bounce back where consumers confidence was restored. South of Atlanta, the community of Serenbe was no different—it was looking ahead to a new chapter of growth and stability.

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One of the town founders asked if I would assist them in a strategic planning process for the Serenbe community. Having recently acquired a net zero Sugarberry cottage in the Grange hamlet, I was enjoying the ability to retreat from my Atlanta obligations and enjoy the communities amenities. At Vista Growth, we employ our Roadmap process for many corporate and consumer brands, but at the time, not a real estate development. We were willing to jump in.

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My experience in strategic planning has taught me the value—a necessity—of engaging a meaningful group of people in the process. There are trade offs to this—it’s messier and takes longer but the buy-in is faster and stronger. In fact, most planning participants are likely to invest time or money once they feel their voice has been heard and they have applied a thumbprint on the community. We gathered xx residents, partners, investors, and bystanders in our working sessions. This curated list of folks added tremendous value with fresh ideas, perspectives, and support. We channeled our thoughts and energies into four key themes—Development, Education, Experience, and Finance.

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The purpose of the Roadmap was to plot a fresh course of thinking and action in sparking new initiatives that would shake off the cobwebs of recession and set a runway for positive, planned and profitable development. Serenbe already had a distinctive compass heading and was leading in many interesting ways. It’s original plan was still relevant, what was needed was fresh energy to activate agendas that were affected by the recession. However, it needed to fight through some common challenges—premium products out in the country, a highly differentiated community, and mobility challenges to the city core.

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