Donjek Project: Metro Business Plan Initiative’s Draft

Since January, 2010, the Minneapolis Saint Paul Metropolitan Business Plan Initiative has been researching and developing an analysis of current economic conditions in the metropolitan area. 

Stakeholders are invited to review and comment on the draft “baseline overview” of the Minneapolis Saint Paul metropolitan business plan included in this post. The baseline overview represents an inventory of the conditions of the Minneapolis Saint Paul metropolitan region, and is intended to be representative rather than comprehensive. More information about the plan and its development is available below.

Please submit your comments and critique by Friday, August 6 to:

Jon Commers
Project Manager 
Metropolitan Business Plan Initiative 
Ph. (651) 645-4644


Comments and suggested changes will be incorporated into the baseline overview through consideration by the steering committee of its sponsors, outlined below.


In 2009, the Brookings Institution approached leaders in the Minneapolis Saint Paul region about a pilot initiative to apply a business planning approach to regional economic development. Partners including the Itasca Project, City of Minneapolis, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), Regional Council of Mayors, City of Saint Paul, Target Corporation, Urban Land Institute Minnesota, started an initiative to undertake business planning for the metro area’s regional economic development. Additional funders including the Minneapolis Foundation, Saint Paul Foundation and Wells Fargo Foundation have provided financial support to the project.


The baseline overview has been developed around a vision for the region as a world class, international center of commerce with unsurpassed vibrant communities and natural beauty. A multitude of factors – economic, social, cultural, political – are involved in efforts to realize this vision. The end goals of the business plan, articulated both by the Brookings Institution and by the region’s involved partners, are:

  • First and foremost, to create a document that identifies and connects major themes at work in the region, providing the basis for stronger consensus about how our metropolitan area will thrive in the next century
  • Second, to use the findings of the metropolitan business plan to inform how federal agencies partner with metro regions across the country. Participating regions in the Brookings Institution pilot project include Cleveland/Northeast Ohio and Seattle/Tacoma, in addition to the Minneapolis Saint Paul metropolitan area.

Baseline Overview Content

The focus of this attached document is to inventory the following:

  • Strengths and weaknesses that have formed the region’s current economic conditions
  • Barriers that inhibit the region’s reaching its full potential as a prosperous, vibrant place
  • Opportunities that exist to use our strengths to overcome our challenges
  • Strategies (currently in use or not) which represent promising steps to move the region forward in areas of significance

The analysis is organized using six “levers of prosperity,” a narrative that emerged from the Blueprint for American Prosperity process undertaken by the Brookings Institution in recent years. Each lever represents a short chapter in the baseline overview, describing major themes and relevant strategies:

  • Regional concentrations of firms, talent and ideas and quality of life in the region (download)
  • Human capital – our people, their education and skills – and how to maximize individuals’ access to quality jobs and the productivity they bring to the workforce (download)
  • Innovation-enabling infrastructure which provides an environment where marketable ideas are valued, developed and commercialized (download)
  • Spatial efficiency, or how we design the physical layout of our future region to be a more efficient in its land use, transportation, and overall carbon footprint (download)
  • Effective public and civic culture that reinforces high levels of engagement, values transparency, and supports long-range decision making (download)
  • Information resources that provide a basis for identifying opportunities in the regional marketplace (

The full draft is available here; it outlines a market analysis and environmental scan on a global and national level, as well as the individual discussions outlined above. Please provide comments and critique on any of the sections, or on the baseline overview in its entirety.