Equity Innovation Center convenes second Inclusive Think Tank

Think Tank

The YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities hosted the region's second Inclusive Downtown Think Tank at its new Equity Innovation Center at Gaviidae Common in April 2018.  

Participants represented a broad cross-section of Minneapolis businesses, residents, educators, government agencies, investors, nonprofits and community-building organizations. Together, they practiced "outside-in thinking" while identifying the challenges, gaps and opportunities of building a more inclusive downtown. 

Graphic facilitator Amy Sparks captured their rich discussion in a colorful info-graphic.

The group started by defining simple terms that are often conflated.

  • Diversity means different kinds of people are present.

  • Equity is based on the understanding that one-size-fits-all solutions don't work for everyone.

  • Inclusion means that different kinds of people get to contribute to decisions that may change the system.

Amy Batiste, president of Creative Catalysts and a HunterSage strategic partner, designed the Think Tank experience. She describes it as a cross-sector, research-to-action work group that engages thought leaders, community partners and Minneapolis Downtown Council members in imagining, defining and creating an inclusive downtown.

The 10-month series, which launched in March 2018, is a collaboration between the YMCA Twin Cities and the Minneapolis Downtown Council. It is being presented in partnership with East Town Business Partnership and 2020 Partners.

"The challenges of creating an inclusive downtown are being matched by the opportunities," says Hedy Lamar Walls, chief social responsibility officer at the YMCA Twin Cities and a force behind the Equity Innovation Center.      

Illustration Credit: Amy Sparks, graphic recorder