Episode 18: Innovation Ecosystems 2.0

Innovation ecosystems — places where companies and anchor institutions cluster and connect with startups, incubators, and smaller accelerators — are far from a new urban trend. As technology has become core to our economy in the past few decades, big coastal cities like Boston, San Francisco, and Seattle have become big tech innovation ecosystems, attracting more and more talented workers, startups, and investment capital from across the country and the world every year.

Despite all the growth spurred by these tech-based innovation ecosystems, the resources and the capital haven’t been shared equitably with existing communities. Additionally, as we’ve seen in these big coastal cities, the creation of housing hasn’t kept up with the influx of workers — causing prices to skyrocket and creating new challenges for lower-income groups and people of color.

But there’s a new global trend happening to intentionally plan innovation ecosystems in a way that still brings the advantages of economic opportunity and jobs, while also attempting to share the benefits more broadly. In this episode, we explore this new generation of innovation ecosystems that could not only spark economic growth, but offset some of the urban development approaches that have left too many neighborhoods behind.

In this episode:
[0:00 – 5:50] Phil Armstrong, executive director of Greenwood Rising Black Wall Street History Center, and Trey Thaxton, entrepreneur and owner of the Tulsa-based Goldmill Co. and Greenwood Ave. cover the history of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and what tomorrow could look like with a new innovation ecosystem in place.
[5:51 – 10:33] The podcast hosts Vanessa Quirk and Eric Jaffe discuss Innovation Ecosystems and how a mixed-use innovation ecosystem in neighborhoods might benefit from the opportunities by staying in their communities as well as generating wealth over time.
[10:34 – 22:16] Landon Taylor, co-founder of Legacy First Partners, and Victor MacFarlane, founder and CEO of MacFarlane Partners, explain their vision for the Freedom West that will allow the residents to have access to job training, entrepreneurship training, and access to capital to allow them to participate in the 21st-century economy.
[22:17 – 29:03] Randy Wiggins, founding managing director of Build in Tulsa, and Brian Brackeen, general partner of Lightship Capital strives to build Tulsa as the most Black entrepreneur-centric ecosystem in the country and in the world.

To see images and videos of topics discussed in this episode, read the link-rich transcript on our Sidewalk Talk Medium page at https://bit.ly/3DdhNKL.

City of the Future is hosted by Eric Jaffe and Vanessa Quirk, and produced by Guglielmo Mattioli. Story editing by Rough Cut Collective and Benjamin Walker. Mix is by Andrew Callaway. Art is by Tim Kau. Our music is composed by Adaam James Levin-Areddy of Lost Amsterdam. Special thanks to Phil Armstrong, Trey Thaxton, Landon Taylor, Randy Wiggins, Brian Brackeen, Alison Novak, Jesse Shapins, and Chrystal Dean.


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