Cincinnati Innovation District serves as mannequin for Ohio cities

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Diving letter:

  • The Cincinnati Innovation District (CID) celebrated its first anniversary on March 6, and officials said it served as a “beacon” of inspiration amid the pandemic for cities looking to attract talent and work with the private sector.
  • Since it was launched with the help of the University of Cincinnati, the CID has worked with Microsoft, IncludeHealth, Kao Brands and the Hillman Accelerator. It has launched initiatives to help workers acquire digital skills and hosted a “hackathon” for university students to address current challenges. A competition was also held where students could create branding and sales pitches for products.
  • The CID said it was still on track to meet its goals of ultimately creating 20,000 new jobs and a $ 3 billion annual economic impact in the region, while increasing STEM graduates by 15,000 students and researching $ 2 billion accelerate. The CID has spurred similar efforts in other Ohio cities, such as Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted and others announced separate innovation districts in Ohio in early 2021 Columbus and Cleveland modeled on Cincinnati, with an emphasis on talent acquisition and retention.

Dive Insight:

When competition intensifies search between cities To attract more residents through the transformation into technology and talent centers, many local executives have sought partnerships with academic institutions and private companies to launch similar innovation districts or initiatives.

There are signs too Companies want to create similar talent hubs that go beyond traditional powerhouses like Silicon Valley and New York City. Airbnb, for example, recently announced that it would be opening a technical hub in AtlantaMicrosoft announced in 2019 that it would open a technology center for smart cities Syracuse, NY.

Cincinnati has also taken steps to be more innovative. The city was a pioneer a Wi-Fi project to strengthen its “Smart Cincy” vision and narrow the digital divide while it is in other areas Partnership with Uber to adjust its mobility landscape, looked for Street murals to calm the traffic and has plans to build the nation largest solar system run by the city Curb emissions.

David Adams, chief innovation officer at the University of Cincinnati and chief architect of CID, said while initiatives and partnerships help, companies must have access to talent to make their vision a reality.

“If there is a profound change in our world today, not just here in North America, physical capital is no longer the constraint, but human capital,” said Adams. “Every organization works to get access to this capital, not dissimilar to how a supplier of a particular good works to get close to the end user. Companies that want access to this talent want to get as close to that as possible be.” Source of this city as it can be. “

The CID had plans for face-to-face workshops, networking, and events, but saw these efforts curtailed almost immediately after it opened due to the pandemic. Instead, officials have put much of their programs online, but have made progress through initiatives that help startups get off the ground and collaborate with the student population on their research and experimentation.

The digital operations have forced a level of innovation with the tools employers relied on during the pandemic, which could continue to help after the worst of the pandemic, Adams said.

“As we get through the pandemic, it is clear that companies keep telling us that we will return because innovation is a collision sport and we have to physically collide with one another,” said Adams. “But we also recognize that we now have a complementary platform via the digital world to use these technologies. It was a strange blessing, and this pandemic has forced us to innovate. Necessity is the mother of all inventions, and I think we are a living example of that. “