Innovate DTLA: Building the Next Great Innovation District

On Tuesday, March 29th, the DCBID introduced InnovateDTLA, a new Office and Industry Initiative, at tech networking mixer Startups in the Sky. More than one hundred attendees networked and shared ideas while enjoying 360 degree views of LA from the 37th floor of Brookfield's Gas Company Tower.

Nick Griffin, DCBID Director of Economic Development, kicked off the night with a presentation on Innovation Districts and DTLA's evolving innovation ecosystem. Attendees then broke into discussion groups to exchange ideas on a range of topics such as innovation drivers and cultivators, competitive advantages, public spaces and mobility infrastructure, and diversity and inclusion. Each group was given a large foam board to record their ideas. Afterwards, group moderators took part in a panel to present the main takeaways of each group, offering insights into DTLA's current innovation ecosystem, visions of future growth, and potential obstacles and challenges.

Some of the key findings from the workshop included recognition of the importance of the Downtown Renaissance in creating an environment appealing to innovative individuals and companies. Some specific needs were also identified such as K-12 schools, better streetscapes, and more low-cost housing options. In terms of buildings and workplaces, attendees shared ideas for converting barren lobby spaces into vibrant collaborative environments. Also discussed was the importance of ensuring that innovation creates employment and educational opportunities for all Angelenos.

InnovateDTLA is a collaborative effort between the DCBID and the Brookings Institute to support the growth of DTLA's innovation ecosystem by illuminating, connecting, and amplifying the ideas, individuals, and organizations making it happen. The 2016 InnovateDTLA program, which will officially launch in June, will include a series of interactive workshops and events, culminating in the release of a report on Downtown as an Innovation District and a DTLA innovation showcase in October.