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August 19, 2019 5:24pm

First Person: GLI Innovation Tour Day 1 Recap

Part 1 of a 2-part series from Alisia McClain, Founder/CEO of TECH-nique, Inc., who gives a first-person account of GLI’s Innovation Tour  to Indianapolis to study the city’s technology sector. 


At 11 a.m. on Sunday, August 18th, the Indy Innovation Tour, presented by The Software Guild began, pulling off from the back parking lot of the Marriott East in Jeffersontown.

Our first stop was Frost Brown Todd in Indianapolis, where Mayor Greg Fischer opened by speaking about the need for investment in the technology industry in order to radically scale talent to meet the tech needs of tomorrow.

He noted that 20% of jobs are expected to change in the next 4 years from AI alone while also emphasizing that the text sector is the fastest growing sector in the city. Within that vein, Mayor Fisher outlined place-making, equity and inclusion, digital inclusion, and community partnerships/programs as strategies to move Louisville forward into a city of technology and innovation. Mary Ellen Wiederwohl from Louisville Forward followed, noting that Louisville only has 79% of the jobs in tech that we should have for a city of our size.

Louisville was listed as an “up and coming tech city”, which is noteworthy, but the goal is to move off of this list and into a realm where are identified as an actual tech city. She lauded the technology partnerships currently happening in the city – Software Guild Program, Mayor’s SummerWorks, Academies of Louisville, JPMorganChase partnerships, and TechLouisville, to name a few.

The chamber of commerce of Indianapolis and the deputy mayor of Indianapolis were the featured panelists, speaking on the topic of tech ecosystems and community culture.

They drew direct parallels between building a system of public mobility and changing the culture of Indianapolis to a more innovative city, with initiatives like cultural trail and 16tech, to foster a more innovative culture and move the city forward into a thriving tech ecosystem.

Next, we headed to Four Day Ray Brewing in Fishers, Indiana, to hear from the Fishers, Indiana mayor Scott Fadness and the founder and director of Indiana IoT Lab, John Wechsler and Jason Pennington, respectively, about how their small suburban town is creating a thriving tech and innovation industry. Fishers, Indiana has grown tremendously in size over the past twenty years.

They listed their creation of an IoT lab and coworking space, in addition to supporting local tech entrepreneurship rather than trying to recruit outside tech companies as initiatives they fostered that were aimed at contributing to their growing reputation as a tech suburb.

Afterwards, we all headed back to our hotel to check in and refresh. This was followed by dinner, drinks, and lively conversation at our respective restaurants (I chose Hedge Row), thus concluding our very robust and interesting day one of the Indy Innovation Tour.


ABOUT INNOVATION TOUR

Indianapolis has made significant investments in their tech and innovation culture resulting in the recruitment of new business, new talent, and new startups. Mayor Fischer and key tech leaders from Louisville are in Indy to learn more about the strategies and investments Indianapolis is making to create this transformation change. Learn more. 

 

ABOUT ALISIA

Alisia McClain is founder of TECH-nique, a non-profit that uses research-based practices to disrupt the digital divide by providing computer science skills to underrepresented groups in an innovative and impactful way. Learn more at www.tech-nique.org.