Research shows that cities are uniquely positioned to innovate and transform citizens’ lives, but face many barriers to developing and implementing solutions to tough challenges. The Minneapolis Innovation Team serves as an in-house consulting team focused on helping the City address complex and pressing challenges that contribute to racial disparities. Based in the City Coordinators Office of City Hall, our team works side by side with key City staff, residents, and community organizations, to develop new solutions that move the dial toward equity in Minneapolis.
Despite Minneapolis’ reputation as one of the most progressive, thriving cities in the country, it has some of the worst racial disparities out of all major cities in America. In socio-economic indicators across the board – household income, poverty rates, educational attainment, home ownership, and health outcomes – there are significant and persistent gaps that exist between white residents and residents of color. Through a relentless commitment to research, collaboration, community engagement, project management, data and design, the Innovation Team’s mission is to push for bold new ideas and achieve concrete results that reverse racial disparity trends in Minneapolis.
Approach to innovation
The Innovation Team works side by side with City departments, residents, and community organizations to narrowly define a project area, identify specific challenges, and facilitate the development of solutions that lead to measurable results. We are not responsible for direct implementation within the City rather initiatives are implemented by key City staff and partners who collaborate on each project area. Our team uses the Innovation Delivery Approach, developed by Bloomberg Philanthropies, which advances innovation using a four step process:
- Investigate the problem
- Generate new ideas
- Prepare to deliver
- Deliver and adapt
- Using data to understand issues and drive new policy & practice
- Engaging and collaborating with the community
- Careful exploration of what has worked before
- Space and techniques to generate new ideas
- Structured project and performance management