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Innovation + Job News

Civic group announces plans for annual "world-class innovation" event

A group of civic and business leaders announced an initiative Tuesday to try put Minneapolis-St. Paul on the map in the areas of creativity and innovation.

The nonprofit 4FRONT is made up of local business, education, arts, and government leaders who want the region to take its "rightful place on the world stage."

Executive director John Foley points to a recent ranking of innovative cities worldwide in which Minneapolis slipped to 45th overall from 33rd the previous year.

"Cities all over the world get it. They're working really hard at innovation and trying to figure out how to attract talent, and we're acting like we're not even in the race," says Foley. "We continue to compare ourselves to the likes of Sioux Falls and Mississippi, literally. It's like we don't get it. We're not there yet. We just don't understand the dimensions of this race, and we're missing the big picture that we're competing with Amsterdam and Paris and San Francisco" and other major cities around the globe.

The plan is for 4FRONT to attract, retain, and nurture talent in the areas of food, health, design, and the arts. The centerpiece will be an international symposium and awards event that they hope will annually attract more than 40,000 people.

The Twin Cities are in a global competition for talent, says Foley, and the hope is that the awards will be a way to identify talent and give them a connection to the region. The goal is for Minneapolis-St. Paul to be recognized as the world's premier center of innovation and creativity by 2015 in health, food, design and the arts.

The group is working toward holding its first major event in the summer of 2012, with an abridged event and awards ceremony to introduce the concept in 2011.

Source: John Foley, 4FRONT
Writer: Dan Haugen

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