The Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency (DMC EDA) and the Minnesota State University, Mankato (MNSU) Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (CIE) are recent recipients of a $10,000 economic development grant through the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF). These funds will be used to develop and implement a design thinking workshop in the Mankato area to spur innovation and entrepreneurial thinking.
The CIE is housed within the MNSU College of Business. The organization aims to cultivate the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovative thinkers in south-central Minnesota by providing entrepreneurial education, supporting student startups, and facilitating impactful student project work in the community.
The overall goal of the workshop is to increase the number of innovative projects submitted to the Big Ideas Challenge, a venture competition for current and recent Minnesota State University, Mankato students and to the DMC Assistive Tech Challenge, a competition to develop new products and services for persons with disabilities. The inaugural Assistive Tech Challenge debuted in November 2018 as a partnership between Destination Medical Center Discovery Square, The ARC Minnesota SE Region, and the disABILITY Mayo Clinic Employee Resource Group. Three MNSU teams submitted applications to the Challenge; two of the submissions were accepted into the competition.
“The founding of the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship by the University College of Business was spurred by a variety of things, including a Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation report about the potential of this area and need for coordination and the types of things the Center now provides,” explains CIE Director, Dr. Yvonne Cariveau.
Cariveau says students come to the CIE interested in entrepreneurship but sometimes cannot identify the next immediate step in development of their concepts. She hopes this design workshop will give her students tools to generate ideas and to act.
DMC EDA aims to expand the Assistive Tech Challenge to additional universities across the region. “This collaboration with the CIE serves as a critical pilot project to bring a quality design thinking workshop to the Mankato area and also functions as a test for future expansions of the workshop to other communities,” said Chris Schad, Director of Business Development for DMC Discovery Square. “The ultimate goal of the collaboration is to provide a framework through which students can develop additional business ideas and eventual products.”
Cariveau and Schad both hope the workshops ultimately ignite interest in assistive tech and health care innovation, building strong connections between Rochester and Mankato’s entrepreneurs.
Prototyping is not a new concept for designers. They regularly create early representations of an idea with intentions of testing a theory or response, then adapting the design into a bigger and better version of the original.
The same can be said when introducing prototyping into the public realm.
Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency (DMC EDA) recently invited local innovators to help activate the Peace Plaza in Heart of the City by installing their own prototypes in the space.
As Destination Medical Center (DMC) stakeholders ponder how the evolution of Rochester’s Heart of the City and Discovery Square sub-districts will play out, civic leaders got an up-close look at one new development in downtown Minneapolis that offered some valuable “best practices” examples on how it could be done.
An August 30 bus tour was coordinated by DMC Economic Development Agency (EDA) to study how Minneapolis has been rejuvenating its urban core in recent years. Representatives from Rochester’s business, political, governmental, and cultural sectors spent valuable time at the “Kraus-Anderson mixed-use block,” located near the Hennepin County Medical Center in the “East Town” section of downtown, an area that’s long been dominated by underused surface parking lots.
A new program added to the tax code by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 provides Rochester, Minnesota with new economic development opportunities.
An “Opportunity Zone” is an economically-distressed community where under certain conditions new investments may be eligible for preferential tax treatment. Areas qualify as Opportunity Zones if they have been nominated for that designation by the state and that nomination has been certified by the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury through his delegation authority to the Internal Revenue Service.
Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton identified the Minnesota Opportunity Zones approved by the federal government. Two of those are in Rochester. A portion of the Opportunity Zones overlaps within the Destination Medical Center (DMC) district in downtown Rochester.
Though skylines are often the most recognizable feature of notable American cities, the activity taking place on the ground is where we find the human-to-human connections that make up the true heart of a community. Destination Medical Center – together with community leaders, business owners, engaged citizens, and the City of Rochester – is strategically exploring the best ways to nurture life and activity at street level.
“Discovery Walk” is the public realm that runs along four blocks of 2nd Avenue Southwest (from the Heart of the City at 2nd Street to Soldiers Field Park at 6th Street). The plan is to transform the underused and uninviting two-lane street into a tree-lined, multi-use linear parkway.
For one week each January, tens of thousands of innovators, tech pioneers, and business leaders from around the world gather in Las Vegas for CES 2018* to introduce their next-generation ideas to the global marketplace.
This year, #AccessibleOlli made the journey to Las Vegas. If you’re not yet acquainted with Olli, it’s the future of autonomous public transportation. The electric, self-driving shuttle holds up to 10 people and is 90-percent 3D-printed. Olli offers transportation solutions for individuals with mobility limitations, cognitive disorders, and vision and hearing impairments.
Cities across the country are exploring new and improved ways to design the streets and corridors that connect us to the places we live, work, and play. In downtown Rochester, DMC is looking at options to provide practical, safe, and appealing ways for everyone to move between the six sub-districts.
Most recently, designers for DMC have been focusing on the future of a four-block segment of Second Avenue SW. The corridor – which extends south from Heart of the City through Discovery Square and down to Soldiers Field – has been dubbed “Discovery Walk.”
“Connecting existing and future assets of downtown is essential,” says Patrick Seeb, director of economic development and placemaking for the initiative’s Economic Development Agency. “Discovery Walk will be an integral piece of the greater plan for the DMC District.”
Discovery Walk is among several downtown streets to be redesigned as part of the DMC initiative.
Airglow will bring interactive lighting installations, including a 40-foot inflatable igloo, to downtown’s Peace Plaza from November 4-11. The all-ages event will take place each evening from 5-10 p.m.
Strategic urban planning is key to sustainable development in a growing community like Rochester. It helps city leaders to maximize public dollars, adapt to changing demographics, and address the demand for housing, transportation, and workforce. While DMC helps shape the future of downtown, city and county planners are looking ahead to prepare for citywide growth.
“Planning to Succeed” or P2S 2040 is the city’s comprehensive plan intended to provide community members, business leaders, city staff, and government officials with a roadmap as they prepare for current and future growth.
Both the City’s Comprehensive Plan and the DMC Development Plan, which was endorsed by the City of Rochester in March 2015, encouraged extensive community engagement throughout the planning processes. “Community-wide participation is incredibly important,” says Patrick Seeb, DMC economic development and placemaking director. “It leads to better ideas, community buy-in, and long-term success.”
Cities at any stage of development can benefit greatly from sharing ideas with and learning from other communities.
For the second year in a row, more than 40 leaders from organizations in and around Rochester traveled to the Twin Cities for a DMC-organized site visit. This year’s trip focused on topics of transportation and public spaces and included discussions and presentations from key experts in those fields. Attendees included staff from the DMC Economic Development Agency (EDA) staff, the City of Rochester, Mayo Clinic, Coen+Partners, RSP Architects, the University of Minnesota, the Rochester International Airport, and other local organizations.