Democratizing Innovationin Cities
with Katie Stebbins
The problems of the globe are also the problems of our major cities, especially post-industrial ones: environmental damage, economic inequality, public health crises. Can we solve these problems one city at a time, through renewal and innovation? We talk with Katie Stebbins, who has spent her career working to revive some of Massachusetts' most economically challenged towns. Her mission? To democratize innovation.
Katie StebbinsEconomic development professional specializing in innovation ecosystems and P3’s
Katie explores how a community garden, or a small business growing coral in a garage, can and should count as innovation. “I think in any community you go into, you’ll be surprised when you start knocking on doors, going in buildings, meeting people, the kind of assets you have on your roof that you never thought you had,” says Katie. She says we have to work with the new populations that have migrated to our cities rather than attempt to re-create the factory town of old – a model she says is out-of-touch with our 21st-century workforces.
Katie also discusses public-private partnerships, her work in food innovation, and the ‘circular economy’ of best practices that allow ideas to migrate between cities and big national or supranational organizations. In her many roles, she emphasizes the need to ‘get proximate’ to people in order to democratize engagement.