Skift Take

In an effort to leverage the tech and creative industry advancements in their cities, U.S. mayors are doubling down on innovation districts to transform their cities' reputations and provide a heightened destination experience for conference organizers.

The Future of Meetings & Events

Mayors in dozens of cities across the U.S. are backing the development of “innovation districts” to commercialize the convergence of new research and development taking place within their startup and research communities.

In a nutshell, according to the Brookings Institution, innovation districts are geographic clusters consisting of academic and scientific research institutions, startup and enterprise companies, and business incubators located in amenity-rich, mixed-use urban cores. They represent a new platform for economic development by providing a highly networked ecosystem designed to accelerate growth across a region’s scope of creative and advanced industry sectors.

I spoke with the mayors of Philadelphia, Chattanooga, and Albuquerque to learn how their innovation districts are pivoting their destination brands as incubators for progress. We also discussed how these districts are evolving as venues for the exchange of ideas between local thought leaders and visiting conference delegates. Read the full story here.

— Greg Oates

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This Week at Skift

U.S. Mayors Are Backing Innovation Districts To Transform Cities’ Brands: With the federal government deadlocked in intractable partisan debate, mayors across the country are stepping up to drive American progress by cultivating their innovation economies more intentionally. A growing number are also developing “innovation districts” to reposition their city brands and elevate their value proposition for conference organizers. Read more at Skift

Millennials are Attending Events in Droves Because of Fear of Missing Out: A new Eventbrite survey shows that nearly three-quarters (71 percent) of respondents believe that attending an event makes them feel more connected to other people, their community, and the world, which is a marked increase from 2014 (66 percent). Among Millennials surveyed, they responded higher at 89 percent, up from 82 percent three years ago. Read more at Skift

How Monte Carlo Embraces Change for a New Luxury Customer: The Monaco Convention Bureau is repositioning itself as an “intellectual capital,” and the principality and its state-owned SBM hospitality group is developing an event calendar to cater to a younger demographic. Monaco is one of the Med’s most dramatic locales, but it has needed a reboot for a long time to engage the next-generation traveler. This, it appears, is a start, and we’re eager to see how the bureau rolls out the city’s knowledge base. Read more at Skift

Next Generation Meetings UX

We Have The Power To Code A New Operating System For Humanity: About 15 percent of the world’s population is creating the global narrative of our times through media development and consumption, which leaves out the stories of the planet’s other 85 percent of people. With technologies like artificial intelligence and virtual reality advancing quickly, “Are we repeating [past] mistakes of having a narrow group of people decide their value for humanity?” Read more at World Economic Forum

Why Knight Foundation Teamed With Niantic To Bring Pokémon Go To Community Events: The augmented reality technology underpinning the wildly popular, location-based Pokémon game is being used to develop new mobile platforms for live events. Read more at Knight Foundation

Trying To Create More Seats On The Innovation Rocket Ship: Twenty San Diego tech startups will gather for an innovation-sharing event later this summer, with all the trappings of a Silicon Valley-style tech extravaganza. Except, it’s going to take place at the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation, located in an area where 24 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. Read more at Brookings

Planning A Meeting That Taps Virtual Reality Or Driverless Cars? VisitPittsburgh Asks Millennials To Think Ahead: Pittsburgh’s destination marketing agency developed the Committee 2022 with a group of millennials in an effort to prepare for how future travelers will explore the world and share their experiences. Read more at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

How and Why Data Collection Matters for Events: The future of event planning is going to revolve around data, metrics, and analyzing massive amounts of information to prove the success of an event. The fundamental challenge is connecting attendees face-to-face, and helping them meet the right people to build meaningful relationships based on that data. Read more at EventMobi

Case Study: What Would You Do If Your Keynote Speaker Canceled On You?: That is exactly what happened last month at Meeting Professionals International’s World Education Congress in Las Vegas, when Magic Johnson cancelled the day before his lunch keynote. Here’s how MPI transitioned in less than 24 hours for the educational benefit of its audience: Read more at Slido

How Will Virtual and Augmented Reality Affect the Event Industry?: Seven event planners ruminate on how virtual reality and augmented reality will elevate programming, content delivery, and measurement. Still a lot of user experience kinks to work out in a group environment. Read more at BizBash


The Skift Meetings Innovation Report is curated by Skift editor Greg Oates [[email protected]]. The newsletter is emailed every Wednesday.

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Photo credit: Autonomous vehicle research at MIT Media Lab. MIT

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