VOL. 130 | NO. 214 | Tuesday, November 3, 2015
Mayor's Innovation Delivery Team Charts New Course
By Andy Meek
Now that Memphis has a new mayor-elect, a team that’s worked for years within the mayor’s office and with city hall on innovative solutions to local challenges is thinking about its future.
The good news: Doug McGowen, who heads up the Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team, said the enterprise isn’t going anywhere.
The team had for several years operated thanks, in part, to Bloomberg philanthropic funding, which had incrementally wound down in tandem with an expectation from the Bloomberg organization that the team would figure out how to chart its own future.
McGowen said local philanthropy “has picked up where Bloomberg left off, and there’s a lot of projects we’re already engaged in with the city that we hope to continue.”
“And we’ll have that conversation with the new administration,” McGowen said. “But we’ve always been supporting the administration and the city, in a way, from the innovation perspective, and we intend to continue that work.”
The team is now operating out of the EmergeMemphis building at 516 Tennessee St., and McGowen anticipates it will remain there. Its work thus far has included things like helping incubate businesses and activate city neighborhoods through programs like MEMFix and MEMShop, which launch storefront businesses on a short-term basis to create momentum in an area.
“We’re also working with our board on – we were always under the nonprofit called the Mayor’s Institute for Excellence in Government, and the board’s considering a name change for that just because it’s sometimes confused with government,” McGowen said. “But the innovation team, we’re still going to be called that.”
The bottom line, he adds: “Our focus is the same.”