Kevin Karner, Minnesota Daily -- Academics, business leaders and federal officials gathered at the University of Minnesota last week to celebrate the release of an online tool that lets users visualize where businesses cluster in specific areas. The two-day event, called “Mapping the Midwest’s Future,” was held at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and featured discussions about the University’s role in economic development and in researching industry clusters, or geographic concentrations of related companies or organizations.
Researchers developed the tool over the last four years through research from the Harvard Business School and partnerships like that with the University of Minnesota, said Lee Munnich, director of the State and Local Policy Program at the Humphrey School. The interactive map’s primary function is to serve researchers in business and academia, said Munnich, who teaches a course on clusters. But he said the tool is also simple enough for individuals to use for their own purposes; for example, people who are job searching can browse areas to see which areas are suitable.