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Our Value Proposition.


Below, we take a deep dive into where and how IDEAS xLab creates VALUE in each of our three core sectors: Health, Community Development and Cultural.

Framing the Opportunity:

America leads the world in medical research and medical care, and for all we spend on health care, we should be the healthiest people on Earth. Yet for some of the most important indicators, like how long we live, we’re not even in the top 50.

It’s time for America to lead in health, and that means taking three steps. 

  1. The first is to ensure that everyone can afford to see a doctor when they’re sick. 
  2. The second is to make preventive care, like screening for cancer, available to people who otherwise won’t or can’t go in for it.
  3. The third is to stop thinking of health as something we get at the doctor’s office but instead as something that is rooted in the culture of our families, neighborhoods, schools, and workplaces. 

The more health is seen this way, the more opportunities are available to improve it. Still, our solutions will only be as good as our ability to listen each other, to understand each other, to work together, to value the insights that different people can bring to the table, and to see our future as connected.

In Washington, our government is polarized and the political process is gridlocked. Therefore, it increasingly falls upon local communities to develop their own best solutions for improving health and wellbeing. 

However, a 2016 survey by the Pew Research Center showed that:

  • Only 15% of Americans have participated in a service or civic organization in the past year;
  • Only 25% have contacted or visited a public government official in the last year;
  • Only 33% have participated in a school group or community organization; and,
  • Only 46% have worked with people in the neighborhood to fix a problem.                                                                         

Even in divided times, there is cause for hope:  the number of people involved in social change initiatives, the increasing amounts of money being invested in those initiatives, the steadily declining costs of technology and the attention being given to social innovation and creating inclusive, resilient economies.

To America's growing social innovation movement, IDEAS xLab introduces culture as the key driver for learning, action and evaluation by communities seeking to increase social cohesion and civic engagement toward greater participation in policy making and improved wellbeing.

As we have seen with the “curb cut effect" - the idea that laws and policies created to help vulnerable groups ultimately benefit all members of society – investing in Project HEAL's arts and culture model may create advantages that can ripple far and wide (Blackwell, 2017).


IDEAS xLab's Value to Health Sector + Government.

  • Increases speed to market for programs, solutions, products and services.
  • Mitigates financial risk of solution-customer misfit.
  • Exponential expansion of opportunities to co-innovate w/ communities.
  • More insightful, multi-dimensional success measurements and tools.
  • Connects the cultural with the clinical.
  • Increases diversity of innovation economy.
  • Invents, expands and improves opportunities for impacting root causes of Social Determinants of Health. 
  • Offers breakthrough thinking on how to accelerate the pace and scale of community health improvement without focusing on personal behaviors as the main solution to serious health conditions and disparities.
  • Expands opportunities for hospitals and health systems to demonstrate community health benefit required by IRS for nonprofit hospitals and organizations.
  • Overcomes implicit and structural innovation bias of VC/Capital Markets to see grassroots solutions as investable business models.
  • Improves trust between communities and institutions.
  • Increases community capacity for self-determination and resiliency.
  • Supports solution finding at scale.
  • Expands place-based opportunities for upward mobility.
  • Significantly expands talent cultivation and attraction.
  • Provides an evidence-informed arts and culture models for measurable improvements in health-related quality of life (HRQoL) at a population level.
  • Deepens and expands the impact of corporate social responsibility strategies.
  • Offers new strategies, tools and measurements for attracting resources for community health development / social impact.
  • Improves wellbeing of communities experiencing chronic stress.   
  • Decreases social isolation and improves social cohesion.

IDEAS xLab's Value to Community Development Sector.

Cultural Innovators and artists are a catalytic force shaping and influencing our cultural, political, and economic landscapes. As storytellers, we help to contextualize the human experience and deepen the understanding of numerical measurements typically reported in science. By doing so, we make new options visible. IDEAS xLab provides the crucial "bridge" which translates and adapts the skills of artists and cultural producers into actionable strategies for community development and governmental planning.  


Where IDEAS xLab can create new value for Community Development Sector:

Health & Wellbeing

  • Explore New Ways to Meet Basic Needs
  • Support Livelihood & Employment
  • Expand and Strengthen Continuum of Care 
  • Increase Connection Between Public Health Services and Communities
  • Increases opportunities for improving social emotional skills in youth.   

Economy & Society

  • Promote Cohesive & Engaged Communities
  • Advance Social Stability
  • Foster Economic Prosperity
  • Engages innovative methods for activating community capacity for self-advocacy toward more equitable policymaking.

  • Ideas for cost-effective strategies to accelerate the impact of education and workforce development, creating more opportunities for upward mobility.

Infrastructure & Environment

  • Enhance Built Environment Assets
  • Provide Culturally-Responsive Communication

Leadership & Strategy

  • Promote Leadership & Effective Management
  • Empower a Broad Range of Stakeholders
  • Foster Long-term & Integrated Planning
  • Creates new pathways for moving toward Pay for Success/Social Impact Financing models which builds both rigor and resiliency in vulnerable populations and moves them toward supported autonomy.

With the right training and support, we excel as insightful, passionate, professionals who can (re)introduce humanity into policy discussions and create strategies that move us beyond community health and into community well-being.  We can bring people together with a common sense of purpose and facilitate community engagement around well-being in ways that increase social connection, reduce stigma, and positively influence the negative effects of social toxins, like fear and hopelessness, brought on by poverty.   


IDEAS xLab'S Value to Cultural Sector.

IDEAS xLab prepares cultural innovators to access opportunity by:

  • Offering a learn/work training and education model.
  • Creating projects that overcome the structural inequities for artists of color and other artists whose life circumstance prohibits them from getting a traditional art degree due to the high cost/debt acquisition.
  • Forging complex relationships between cultural and health sectors.
  • Combining social impact financing with traditional arts philanthropy to support cultural innovation. 
  • Providing cross-sector training for cultural innovators and humanities professionals which leads to more income opportunities and creative economy expansion.
  • Combining free expression with equity (i.e., race, class, LGBTQ+, etc.) to positively impact health-induced economic insecurity and offer insights for improving upon existing creative economy development models.
  • Increasing opportunities for building inclusive economies through social/cultural entrepreneurship.  
  • Expanding the sector's scope and impact as a driver of more inclusive economies and improved equity in governmental access in health and community development.

In his book Linchpin, author and innovator, Seth Godin wrote:

"Our society is struggling because during times of change, the very last people you need on your team are well-paid bureaucrats… The compliant masses don't help so much when you don't know what to do next. What we want, what we need, what we must have are indispensable human beings. We need original thinkers, provocateurs, and people who care. Every organization needs a linchpin, the one person who can bring it together and make a difference. Some organizations haven't realized this yet,… but we need artists ----  people with a genius for finding a new answer, a new connection, or a new way of getting things done."

This begs the question… how are we preparing artists for jobs a 21st Century Economy.

In the past couple of years, the group BFAMFAPhD has generated a lot of debate around the subject of artist education with their ARTIST REPORT BACK document. Only about 10% of those with performing and visual arts degrees are earning their living as a working artist.  And yet, higher education is turning out these degrees at an all time high. Furthermore, issues of cultural equity have prohibited many artists of color and low-income artists from even entering the degree pipeline.

 Source:  BFAMHAPhD     Artists Report Back   Report

Source: BFAMHAPhD  Artists Report Back Report

How should this data be viewed?  Here's IDEAS xLab’s take:


The health sector’s innovation economy is calling for integrative, macroscopic thinkers. Our work at IDEAS xLab has led us to believe, unequivocally, that the demand for this new breed of cultural innovator exists and is growing. This presents a substantial opportunity for the cultural sector.

America’s fine arts institutions are a national treasure. They are needed. Also needed are new business models that provide financial access and independence for artists.  IDEAS xLab's work is pioneering this promising idea for artists and cultural producers.




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