Miami is undergoing a big change, driven by those who are looking to make a real difference in the community. Instead of leaving, many millennials are growing their dreams right here; there is an emerging startup scene; and you can feel the shift in energy. Our City Thoughts aims to shine a light on those who are driving innovation and helping bring forth this new Miami.
Our team is made up of millennials, energized by a blossoming community of creatives, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders. We are in a city that, to a majority of the country, is not known as an intellectual mecca. We look to change this mindset, by showcasing the growing talent. Miami is no longer just the life of the party.
We want to highlight an authentic voice, by describing first hand what Miami is becoming. Our goal is to grow the community and help it attract and retain talent through the power of storytelling. We aim to change perceptions and refocus attention on a new narrative in Miami, centered on innovation, problem-solving and entrepreneurship. In the last year, we have worked to identify the game changers in our community and began telling their stories through video and written interviews. We’ve realized that the power of a meaningful story transcends generations, and can ignite change.
We were struck by the idea that if we could see civic tech as part of a broader ecosystem, then perhaps we could stop making isolated bets with independent grants and develop a larger strategy that would make use of the fact that technologies, investors and public narrative are all interconnected.
At Quid this is the kind of question that we like. We have developed software to analyze and visualize unstructured information streams. The software is still very new and is being used by merger and acquisition teams, PR firms and governments to understand complex relationships hidden in data. However we had not had the opportunity to apply these tools to the world of philanthropy. Knight, to its credit, was willing to take on this rather experimental project—and with that we spun up a team of data scientists at Quid to run the software.
Data about foundations and their investments in the technology industry is hard to come by. It’s not recorded in any central place, and when it is recorded it is often in an unstructured format spread across multiple sources. However we were able to use techniques from Open Source Intelligence to uncover data that could be collected from public documents and websites. We were then able to use the Quid analytics platform and Natural Language Processing engines to analyze these data sets to determine what companies were a significant part of the civic tech landscape, what technologies they were employing, how much money they had received, who they had partnered with and who invested in them. But most importantly we could apply network analysis to see how they were all interconnected.
Dec. 6, 2013, 7:26 a.m., Posted by Daniel E. Klimas
In 2004 Knight Foundation helped form the Fund for Our Economic Future, a collaborative to turn around the hard-hit economy of Northeast Ohio. Knight and the Fund recently released a report detailing lessons from the Fund’s first seven years, “Catalyzing Regional Economic Transformation.” Daniel E. Klimas is president and CEO of LNB BanCorp and chair of the Strategy Coordinating Committee for the Fund’s Northeast Ohio Regional Competitiveness Strategy.
The approach we have undertaken for our Regional Economic Competitiveness Strategy work in northeast Ohio is a close partnership between philanthropy and business. It has become an exciting and dynamic approach.
It allows our community to create a common agenda to guide priorities and investments. We all know there are many great causes and opportunities in northeast Ohio, but we don’t have unlimited resources. But with the business community and philanthropy working in partnership, we are able to collectively drive the priorities in the region and focus on the areas of highest impact.
This approach has its challenges. Philanthropy and business often work on different timetables and with unique processes for evaluation and funding. However, it is worthwhile to work through these differences and find common ground around strategy, timing and process to achieve the benefits of an integrated approach to economic development.
Here are just a few of the results so far:
There is so much that is positive that has taken place in supporting entrepreneurship in northeast Ohio. Our challenge is to sustain this momentum and build on it. One way that we can leverage this strength is to focus our attention on “gazelle” companies, small companies with high growth potential. Many of the same techniques that have benefitted entrepreneurial companies can be applied to this exciting group.
Driver industries are the core industries in our economy. Some of our historic driver industries are thriving while others are stagnant or declining. Data suggest that retention and expansion of these companies constitute a large part of the growth opportunities in our market. Based on this information, we established a team to focus on improving our efforts in retention and expansion, with particular emphasis on driver industries.
The analysis of workforce-related data highlights the need to have a more prepared workforce in place to meet the future needs of our region. This analysis led to the creation of a team that will focus on building an integrated approach to addressing workforce.
Critical to our work is the data and synthesis the Fund for Our Economic Future provides. It shapes the focus and priority of the strategic initiatives. In addition to published information, the expertise that resides at the Fund is world-class. Their analysis was instrumental in identifying the opportunity that is available if the northeast Ohio economy could perform at levels equal to or better than the national economy. The analysis spanned areas such as employment, gross regional product and per capita income. The Fund was also able to clearly articulate the need for focusing on a growth strategy that inclusive and beneficial to all residents of northeast Ohio.