In a few days I will have the honor of sitting on a panel discussion at a new happening called Techonomy Detroit. My level of excitement for this event has risen to the point where I am actually having thoughts about what shoes I should wear a full week before the event. Usually, I’m content with grabbing whatever seems to match the socks I yank out first.
But this event, and this panel of speakers, is different. The event is a sign that Detroit has a much higher level of relevance than it has enjoyed in a long time. There were many cities the Techonomy organizers could have taken their event – but they landed here in Detroit. Bringing this day-long show, which focuses on economic growth in a technology-based world, to Detroit is tremendously positive. Any time you have nationally known speakers like Jack Dorsey from Twitter, it is a good thing. And Skidmore is thrilled to be part of the conversation and to have had a hand in the design of the look of the event. I sincerely hope everyone here in Detroit will show their support by showing up in large numbers.
Personally, I’m excited to be part of a panel discussion about Detroit and the ways the creative sector will continue to play a role in the resurgence of the city. This topic has occupied a large part of my thinking for several years. To share the discussion with forward thinkers like Josh Linkner of DVP, Leslie Smith of TechTown and Matt Clayson of the Creative Corridor is a real treat. I’m really looking forward to an engaging and lively conversation on what can be done to keep the momentum going.
(Spoiler Alert) As I’ve had both public and private versions of this discussion over the past months, it is interesting to me how the use of the success and failure of other cities are benchmarks for what should or could be expected. While I understand this rationale, I also find it somewhat limiting. I’m a brand evangelist at heart, and as such I preach from the soapbox of “authenticity.” By that I mean that Detroit is unique and entirely different from any other city. As such, our solution needs to be unique, different and authentic to Detroit. Let’s not be the next anything. Not Pittsburgh, not Seattle, not Berlin. Let’s be Detroit, and be proud of who and what we are.
So, I’m offering up fair warning to those who attend, my fellow panelists and anyone who follows along on Twitter or Facebook. I promise a “take no prisoners” honest discussion that will challenge and spark debate. It says “Kick Ass” on my business card, and that’s just what I plan to do.
You’ll want a seat for this: Techonomy Detroit