According to Bruce Katz, Centennial Scholar at the Brookings Institution, cities rise above international competitors based on their ability to find points of convergence. And for Oklahoma City, convergence is our specialty.
Last month, Brookings and Project for Public Spaces wrapped up an 18-month study of Oklahoma City’s innovation district. The study focused on Oklahoma City’s strengths as a starting point on our roadmap to further innovation, building on Oklahoma City’s energy and health care sectors to create a focus for collaboration. The report also highlights many areas we must address in order to be successful, including the district’s car-centric layout and limited walkability, its lack of connection between industries and its inclusion of the neighboring communities.
The report’s four suggestions, which you can read on the previous page, includes the goal of creating the Oklahoma Center for Energy and Health Collaboration. As Bruce put it in his blog post about their work in Oklahoma City, “In true Oklahoman style, local leaders did not wait for the ink to dry on the report.” A symposium highlighting similarities between health and energy was held in March and is already building the connections that the report envisions.
Boosting our innovation district will take time and intentional effort, but we have a proven entrepreneurial spirit and the drive to build on our strengths while minimizing our weaknesses. The same factors that we used to reinvent our city still apply to this new challenge. In the days ahead, collaboration will be the key to our success as we create our own brand of innovation in the heart of our city.