RTI uses cookies to offer you the best experience online. By clicking “accept” on this website, you opt in and you agree to the use of cookies. If you would like to know more about how RTI uses cookies and how to manage them please view our Privacy Policy here. You can “opt out” or change your mind by visiting: http://optout.aboutads.info/. Click “accept” to agree.


RTI Announces New Innovative ‘Idea Lab’ to Address Economic Inequalities in Communities

The virtual lab will elevate people and places with unique insights to help create a path to a more equitable future

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C — RTI International, a nonprofit research institute, has announced a new virtual ‘Idea Lab’ to help create and implement practical ideas for a more equitable economy. The lab includes the combined input of representatives from institutions and businesses across the globe to help provide economic development practitioners, program directors, business leaders, researchers, investors, and policymakers with approaches they need to create more broad-based growth across communities.

The concept, created by Sara Lawrence, program director of economic development at RTI, was formed during a partial sabbatical award funded by RTI from 2020-2021.

“We know that the economic development field is at an inflection point. Economic inequalities are becoming more extreme and unfortunately there is no standard set of tools, approaches or practices to address them.” said Lawrence. “The new Idea Lab creates an online forum for sharing tools and approaches to generate a more equitable future for communities across the world.”

A key component of the Idea Lab is the gallery of voices, which is comprised of 17 short interviews with domestic and international thought leaders across the globe. The gallery shares individual perspectives from practitioners, researchers, and business leaders about how to generate more equitable economic development.  

“We know that many voices and organizations are needed to provide answers to creating a more equitable future — the Idea Lab is an excellent platform to combine resources and knowledge from leaders across different backgrounds to work together to make an impact,” said Lawrence, “As the economy evolves, we see the lab evolving and adding in new voices and resources to the conversation.”

The Idea Lab will also offer a series of in-depth articles on how people and places are advancing more equitable economies. The features will be posted regularly on rti.org and take a deep dive into what communities are doing to promote equity across the globe. Initial features include a paper by faculty and students at the Duke University Fuqua School of Business on how cities create more inclusive entrepreneurship. A second feature highlights how small cities in the south maintained economic resiliency amid sharp declines in surrounding economies.

If you are interested in contributing ideas to the Lab, click here.