:: Voices ::

Dallas’ Rapidly Changing Ecosystem

Photo by Michael Samples

I blew the dust out of my game cartridge and shoved it back into the classic Nintendo system for another round of Techmo Bowl battles. Bang! My father knocked on the door and asked, “are you boys excited to hit the road shortly?!” My 8-year-old hand flew through the air as I high-fived my little brother. Booooom! We were about to embark on our first road trip to Dallas, leaving Abilene’s level countryside in our rear view mirror.

A few hours later, we could see the majestic skyline just above our mom’s rather large ’80s hairstyle. Our imaginations were soaring as we hummed the theme song from the famous TV show that our parents (and the rest of world) watched so religiously. The real estate market was in full effect as the brand new 72-story Bank of America Plaza glowed in its iconic green lights.

Back then, Dallas “was” always known as the concrete jungle of business. It was 1985. I’ve come a long way since then and so has “Big D.” Innovative corporations are flocking to Frisco and entrepreneurial incubators such as Tech Wildcatters are emerging out of buildings that were once “corporate.” A tech-driven creative revolution is ready to explode and I’ll outline some new highlights that you will be eager to experience.

Back To The Future

The Dallas West End Historic District was once a hot spot, but that popularity has diminished in recent years. It is now the foundation for a unique infrastructure being developed by the Dallas Innovation Alliance (DIA). Their initiative to transform the West End into the technology hub of DFW makes innovative marketing teams (such as ours at 900lbs of Creative) jump for joy. DIA’s strategic plan for connected living and big data research will be groundbreaking.

Embracing Culture

The Shraman South Asia Museum will continue to transform downtown with a multi-cultural creative learning environment that the city so desperately needs. Its mission is to inspire people to learn about South Asia’s heritage and to encourage exploration of diversity. Dallas continues to attract a broad range of talent from all parts of the globe.

Personally, I’m thankful to have traveled to more than 23 countries. Being open-minded to globalization is in my DNA. The Shraman will continue the Perot Museum’s successful methodology of interactive and multi-sensory experiences that educate and entertain.

Sparking Interest

Not every child has the opportunity to unleash their creativity. The standardized linear-based way that our school systems have enforced big test preparation has hurt the harvesting of young creative minds. Insert Sir Ken Robinson’s wisdom right here. Have you (or your kids) heard of SPARK, yet? Don’t worry … you will. Spark’s 11,000-square-foot facility is full of interactive playscapes and collaborative arts-focused learning environments that will aid in our schools’ sluggish quest to innovate.

Oak Cliff Originality

Our Innovation Design Studio at 900lbs is comfortably nestled in the heart of the Bishop Arts District in Oak Cliff. We are proud to call this neighborhood home and it’s a welcome treat for our clients who come down here for meetings or lunch.

The culinary creativity of the restaurants and its popular shops and workspaces continue to grow its Austin-like atmosphere. The neighborhood’s new Farmers Market recently opened and is yet another breath of fresh air while waiting on your table for brunch.

Getting Outside

The weather here allows us to get outside anytime we want. The influx of new Dallas transfers probably won’t get altitude sickness here and they probably won’t catch a gnarly wave, but the outdoor scene here is bustling. From nice strolls down the Katy Trail (with a craft beer in hand) to relaxing kayak excursions on White Rock Lake to intense mountain biking trails, it’s easy. Driving just a few hours in any direction will get you to some incredible camping and hiking. Road trip anyone? Digital disconnection and getting out of the context of the day-to-day grind is key for idea generation.

As I “connect the dots backward,” (per the philosophy outlined in Steve Job’s famous commencement speech at Stanford) I am thankful to have settled here in Dallas. Just like the exponential growth of technology, the only constant is change. The ecosystem of this city is changing rapidly and I believe it’s for the better!

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Steve Deitz is the principal/creative director of Dallas-based experiential design studio, 900lbs of Creative, a collective of interactive artists and visual storytellers. Their primary focus is creat(...)

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