Case | HBS Case Collection | November 2011 (Revised February 2012)

Greater Minneapolis-St. Paul: Building on a Diversified Base

by William W. George


Since the 1970s, the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan region (MSP) had outpaced the nation in job creation and income per capita. MSP's diversified base of industry clusters had enabled the region to adapt to economic downturns and an exodus of major corporate headquarters, earning it the accolade "Minnesota Miracle." Starting in 2003, however, MSP lagged the rest of the U.S. in job ceation (see Exhibit 1). Alarmed business and civic leaders coalesced around a loose-knit group that congregated annually as the Itasca Project. In 2009 these leaders launched the Itasca Jobs Task Force, and its 2010 report set in motion a series of actions by groups of CEOs and politicians aimed at reversing these trends by creating jobs in all sectors of the economy. In the fall of 2011, however, it was unclear whether these efforts would achieve their intended results (see exhibit 2), or whether longer-term corrective actions in education and skills training would need to take hold first.

Keywords: Industry Clusters; Employment; Organizations; Transformation; Economic Slowdown and Stagnation; Minneapolis; Saint Paul;


George, William W. "Greater Minneapolis-St. Paul: Building on a Diversified Base." Harvard Business School Case 412-074, November 2011. (Revised February 2012.)