Looming demographic changes bring opportunities and challenges to our state. To remain strong we must imagine new solutions and find new ways to achieve them.
Paul Mattessich, Wilder Research executive director and Minnesota Compass project director, welcomed a full house at the 5th Minnesota Compass Annual Meeting with a two-pronged message: We are celebrating the strong commitment of the collaborative of funders who recognized the need to have common, credible information available to everyone interested in the welfare of Minnesota's residents. At the same time, if Minnesota is to remain strong, we must find innovative ways to work in our changing landscape.
Keynote speaker Alex Cirillo, retired vice president, 3M Company, illustrated how the 3M model of innovation can be adapted and used as an effective tool for people working to build strong communities.
Alex Cirillo explained the importance of including people "not like us" in a collaboration and defined key roles:
Specialists: The subject experts with advanced technical knowledge about a specific area.
Frame the question.
Identify the critical factors that must be included in the solution.
What is "in scope" and "out of scope"?
Define what success looks like.
Scouts: Those who help advance solutions by making new connections with existing information.
Architects: Those who can apply specific knowledge to a wide range of fields and identify breakthroughs.
These two groups:
Reframe the question.
Explore other problems from different disciplines that are similar in nature but have been solved.
Talk about those other solutions in our context.
Do they teach us anything unique?
Adapter/enabler: The ones who “do stuff,” supporting development of new technologies and applications.
How do we get it done? (Who needs to be a player? Where are the funders? How do we form the right partnerships?)
What's the timing?
A Compass presentation by Craig Helmstetter, Minnesota Compass Project Manager, shined a light on our aging population, growing diversity, and large racial disparities. In his presentation, Craig pointed to large racial disparities in:
Craig also pointed out the long-term effects of closing these gaps. For example, if the poverty rate for people of color is reduced to the level for white people, there would be 275,000 fewer people living in poverty – nearly equivalent to the population of St. Paul.
Wilder Foundation President MayKao Hang put a face on the data by sharing her personal story of living as a first generation immigrant. She also reiterated the foundation's belief that today's environment requires working together, and Compass data provides the necessary common base of understanding.
"Information is intervention," said Paul Mattessich as he pointed to ways Compass is providing information to guide direction of efforts to improve our state.
Using the Compass data, and the innovation tools, Alex then led the group through an exercise to to help them answer questions related to increasing employment rates among people of color and to better harnessing the potential of older volunteers.
Compass Points -- a reading of Minnesota's quality of life. Find current status, recent trends and national rankings for Minnesota Compass key measures. (4-page pdf)
2012 Highlights (2-sided pdf)