Tech and Innovation Must Play Central Role in Detroit Revival

by Latoya Irby | | Articles

*This post originally appeared at Techonomy on July 31, 2013

Even as Detroit hits financial bottom, Techonomy retains its belief that applying tech and innovation can be a major aid toward a historic comeback. As Techonomy Detroit 2013 nears, the conference continues to grow its list of speakers and sponsors, and refine its program. Techonomy earlier announced the inclusion of Square CEO Jack Dorsey, Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson, Jean Case of the Case Foundation, Andrew Yang of Venture for America, and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. New speakers include Rodney Brooks of Rethink Robotics, Bruce Katz of the Brookings Institution, Edward Luce of the Financial Times, Susan Lund of the McKinsey Global Institute, Hector Ruiz, Chairman and Founder of ANS, Nilmini Rubin, competitiveness expert for the Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, Ford’s K. Venkatesh Prasad, and Cisco’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs, Tae Yoo.

More than 500 national and local leaders from technology, business, government, and academia will converge on the campus of Wayne State University on September 17, 2013 for a one-day public event that focuses on how headlong technology-driven change is changing and challenging the U.S. economy and its cities. Techonomy sees technology and exponential change as both threat and promise, and aims to help leaders identify the promising piece for their organizations and the country. A key theme of this year’s event is how tech can be harnessed to expedite revival. While some of Techonomy’s conferences are invite-only retreats, Techonomy Detroit is open to the public and aims for extensive participation and impact.

The recent news of Detroit’s bankruptcy filing is not a deterrent to Techonomy. In fact, it is often necessary to hit bottom before again rising up. Despite the financial crisis, enthusiasm for revival has never been stronger among Detroit’s business and tech community.

“Detroit is a symbol of the failures of the U.S. economy and if we cannot revive it, then I fear for the country,” said Techonomy founder and noted author David Kirkpatrick. “Detroit is more committed than ever—it has to be—to creative problem-solving. Tech innovation, entrepreneurship, and creative thinking can combine with faith and elbow grease to move towards a brighter day. Meanwhile, the city becomes an even better place for a big conversation on national priorities.”

The conference’s host partner is the Michigan Economic Development Corporation ( MEDC). Michael A. Finney, President and CEO of MEDC, commented, “Our comeback success story—the one we’ve started and are still working on—is a huge reason why Detroit is the perfect location for this event; and we are thrilled Techonomy is coming back. Our mission is to help create more and better jobs by accelerative business investments and development—technology is a major part of that equation. Encouraging change, fostering innovation and entrepreneurship, these are all areas Detroit is centering on right now.”

Follow Techonomy on Twitter @techonomy and tweet using the hashtag #TechonomyDetroit.


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