We need to leverage the good work started by the Tampa Bay Wave, The new Innovation Hub, Florida-Israel Business Accelerator (FIBA), EDi2, Startup Tampa Bay, and all other entrepreneurial support organizations. We need to back them up and make sure they thrive. I am particularly interested in what develops with the Synapse Platform which aims to map out Florida’s entrepreneurial ecosystems. These are the types of organizations that are growing in the City of Tampa. These are the kinds of ideas and initiatives I will be supporting and encouraging as we move our city forward.
I will also create a Department of Economic & Innovative Development within the City of Tampa and have a Chief Innovation Officer dedicated to work on the most innovative and disruptive initiatives that our city can adopt. We will no longer be a laggard when it comes to innovation, and instead be an early adopter and innovator, with a direct line to entrepreneurial support organizations throughout the city and across the globe.
One important distinction: Innovation and Technology do not necessarily go hand-in-hand. Let’s not forget that. You can be incredibly innovative without technology. Too many cities are simply focusing on what’s hot right now: Apps, software as a service, and cool gadgets. Innovation goes way beyond that. Innovation is how you do something better; technology is the tool by which you do that. I will not just focus on the cool next “shiny object” that so many people can be enamored with in the tech space. I’ll have our Department of Innovation look to find better solutions to old problems. Updating an old policy that no longer service the city, changing codes to reflect our modern needs, these don’t require any technology, but more innovative ways of thinking. “Out with the old, in with the new” will be a common phrase heard at city hall when I’m privileged to be your Mayor.