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About the Idea Lab

The economic development practice is at an inflection point. Extreme income and wealth inequality has reached crisis levels and the field is under disruption to better respond to these trends. A broader community of practice is emerging to test a range of innovative approaches to best localize solutions to for more for more equitable development.

The Idea Lab is a virtual platform for sharing ideas about how we can create more broad-based economic development for people and places around the world. Chronic divestment and systemic barriers create far too many roadblocks for people and places to fully realize their potential. Let us learn from each other about ways economic development researchers, practitioners, stakeholders, and changemakers can better center equity in our strategies, policies, projects, programs, and evaluations.

Click below for a video introduction to the Idea Lab.

Idea Lab Director

The Idea Lab was created by Sara Lawrence, Program Director of Economic Development at RTI. Sara has spent the last 20 years working across the U.S. and internationally helping governments, business, non-profits, and educational institutions design, plan, and evaluate programs and strategies for economic development. The Idea Lab is a result of a partial sabbatical awarded to Ms. Lawrence from April 2020 – September 2021.