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Dallas Fort-Worth: A Call To Innovate

Uber and The DEC

The term “innovation” is often thrown around, a catchall term used to fill in a gap. If something is different or new or controversial or expensive, or if we don’t have another buzzword to use, we call it innovative, and we think we have contributed to the conversation. It is a term we use to seem relevant around the dinner table or to sound educated when drinking beers at happy hour. But, do we really know what innovation is and what it could do if we used it effectively?

To me, innovation is about finding ways of doing things that create efficiencies and increase effectiveness to the benefit of those involved.

To me, innovation is about finding ways of doing things that create efficiencies and increase effectiveness to the benefit of those involved. Also, innovation is all about people. By their nature, innovators are curious, creative, and impact-driven individuals who seek the best solutions for the greater good. And in a city like Dallas, we can all be innovators. It is in our DNA, and it is what makes us different from other cities around the world.

Our Innovators

Building amazing technology and infrastructure is important. Having the nation’s largest Arts District and the largest rail system in the country is spectacular, but what really transforms a city is pulling the people who live there together and teaching them how to think about their future through the lens of innovation, and several here are doing this, including Sarah Ritesma and Courtney Egelston who are building a new pattern of education and contextualized learning at the IDEA school in DISD. Another example is the launch of the Dallas Smart Cities initiative that was created through a public/private partnership (Dallas Innovation Alliance) with the city of Dallas and several other key partners. Another is the great work that Darron Babcock and his team are doing through Bonton Farms and H.I.S Bridge Builders that plans to add 18 acres of land to the urban farming concept they have created. And we all are aware of the way Chad Houser is creating a solution for recidivism with excellent food through the groundbreaking—and delicious—Cafe Momentum (which was named a best new restaurant by the Dallas Observer in 2015).

Let’s Tell Our Story

Dallas is a city created and built by innovators and entrepreneurs—from John Neely Bryan to Mark Cuban to those mentioned above. We are a city that strives to be the best place to live in the country with a low cost of living and a great work-life balance where families can grow and thrive. The potential we have within this city is exponential. There is a great responsibility on all of us who live here now to not squander that opportunity but rather channel it to change the trajectory of our futures by developing an approach for innovation that makes this a better place to live. It’s time we step up and tell our innovative story. We cannot shy away from addressing the hard topics and hard issues, but rather embrace them and run at them with a strategy that looks at us as one city, with one goal for everyone.

The great thing about Dallas is that we have myriad people, organizations, and initiatives that are focused on driving innovation.

The great thing about Dallas is that we have myriad people, organizations, and initiatives that are focused on driving innovation. The key is that for real innovation to exist, we must put our own agendas aside and look at the impact that could be created by working together. Innovation provides opportunities to not only address some of the biggest challenges that we have as a city but also to continue to grow, advance, and ultimately, change the perception of our city to the rest of the globe.

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Trey Bowles is a serial entrepreneur, social capitalist, and educator. Trey cofounded the Dallas Entrepreneur Center (DEC), a central location for entrepreneurs to learn how to start, build and grow b(...)

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