In 2005, the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission began a process to identify the organizational design needed to support transformational projects throughout the region. While the term "organizational design" implies that a new entity would be created to plan and implement projects, this is not necessarily the case. There already exist many examples of regional and local initiatives that are engaged in the regeneration of the Cuyahoga River Valley. What was needed was a model for how existing organizations and businesses could be recruited as "network partners" who would work with one another to tackle the most pressing needs of the Valley, namely:
- Creating a healthy ecology
- Using economic regeneration to leverage Valley assets
- Building a sustainable infrastructure system to link places, people and experiences, and
- Engaging in healthy place-making that supports great neighborhoods and economies
Through the organizational design process, the "CRVO Protocol" was initially developed to guide the work of the "Cuyahoga River Valley Organization". In the interim until such an organization is both needed by the Cuyahoga Valley and is created, this CRVO Protocol can guide the work of the many potential "network partners" who call the Cuyahoga Valley home. The Protocol describes a way of working together to address the needs of the Valley, and it consists of two primary components: a Code of Conduct and the First Steps to Train Ourselves.