Katie Stebbins knows a thing or two about innovation. Not only is she the founder of BYOFamily.com and a City Planning Professional, Stebbins now acts as the Assistant Secretary for Tech and Innovation at the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
We caught up with Stebbins because we want all women to have the opportunity to participate in forward-thinking movements in their communities. So what can you do to bring innovation to your city?
This is what Stebbins recommends:
- Innovation economies are built by communities of innovators partnering with a multitude of sectors, leaders and stakeholders. The first step in growing a culture of innovation in a city is to identify who your innovators are and offering resources to grow that community.
- Don’t be boxed in by technology as a defining characteristic of innovation. The tech sector is a great place to begin and end, but look for innovators in non-profits, schools, artist studios, and small businesses. This will diversify your community and broaden the creativity you can tap into.
- Innovation in cities is about adopting new ideas into practice. The validation of ideas that residents of all ages have is critical. Explore partnerships with schools and youth programs to introduce and reinforce innovation as an identity at a young age.
- Expand local mentoring and accelerator programs to include actualization of community projects.
- Create a forum for new leadership to be cultivated. In order for a city to grow its innovation economy, new leadership that embraces trying new ideas and testing them locally needs to be in place.