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Learning from Others

Sometimes you can get so busy you forget to pause, look around, and see what others are working on.  When I do take the time, opportunities to meet with others are always energizing.  I learn new ideas, get advice on pitfalls to avoid, and find myself bringing another "crazy" idea to the Innovation District.   May's newsletter is a little late.  In part, because I have been traveling more frequently for these opportunities.  I thought I would share a few takeaways from three recent trips:

Austin, TX for Thinking Outside the Burg (hosted by the St. Pete Chamber of Commerce) - Though the term "Innovation District" can be found in many cities, the implementation varies widely.  I appreciated learning how Austin is leveraging their medical institutions and adapting their plans for evolving workforce habits.  It was also exciting to see the Capital Factory and learn how our Hub can adopt a few of their approaches.  Related article.

Denver, CO for the US Ignite/Smart City Connect Conference - Cities small and large are grappling with similar issues to St. Pete.  Conversations that a few years ago focused on the newest smart light pole or how to prepare for 5G, have now evolved to focus on digital literacy - especially training - to make sure everyone in the community can take advantage of the online world.  Revolutionary ideas around transportation and autonomous vehicles provided the WOW factor that reminded me of the Jetsons.

Atlanta, GA for the Science Festival Alliance Summit - Public science events are back in a big way.  Groups around the country, like us, pivoted to the online world for a couple of years.  But as we saw at our February event with 12,000 attendees, we all love to learn and explore in person.   I am captivated by the immersive experiences that some of the cities are doing, especially those that focus on the interplay of science, technology and art.

I hope everyone has a great summer....and don't forget to look for inspiration on your travels!

Alison Barlow

Executive Director

(This article was first featured in our May newsletter - to subscribe to our monthly newsletter click here)

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