Capital City Innovation - Austin's Innovation District




The promise of Austin’s Innovation District: When Austin collectively harnesses its creativity, something special results.

To support and encourage innovation among academic institutions, health organizations, companies, startups and entrepreneurs, developers, government, and creative individuals by combining strategic placemaking and programs that promote partnerships.

An inclusive community where Austinites collaborate to create new models of health and economic growth for all.

Austin savvy was leveraged by Sematech and others to help make the region a worldwide technology hub, now home to Dell Computers, AMD, Silicon Labs, and the Army Futures Command. South by Southwest gave Austin’s music scene a gravitational force that pulled in the world. It can happen again, now, with health, as a confluence of talent and opportunity offer the chance to make Austin’s Innovation District a national center for health technology and innovation.

Innovation districts co-locate academic, business, and civic innovators within amenity-rich, mixed urban environments overlaid with programs that help them more easily collaborate and turn new ideas into new products. Examples include Kendall Square in Cambridge, where MIT, Novartis, IBM, and others collaborate, and Mission Bay in San Francisco, where UCSF, Kaiser Permanente, Bayer, and other partners. These places are changing the world.

Austin’s opportunity is to revolutionize community health and vitality by leveraging its well-known academic and industry strengths in software, data analytics, and device technologies and its growing capabilities in health and life sciences, including those centered at the new Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin. This opportunity couldn’t be better-nurtured than in Austin, which is known for its creative and entrepreneurial environment.

The city’s Innovation District is both a physical place and a framework for collaboration.

Its core is anchored by UT Austin, Central Health’s Brackenridge campus, and Dell Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas. It hugs the adjacent Waterloo Park, the Red River Cultural District, and the Capitol. And it will grow to create a hub-and-spoke network that connects affiliated innovation sites across Austin, Travis County, and Central Texas. The first building is set to break ground in 2019.

It is also a carefully-curated and growing set of programs that bring together resources and expertise. They include flexible workspaces, business mentoring, accelerators, and workforce programs. These programs are the software to the venues’ hardware. They catalyze consortium collaborations, and they lower barriers to innovation.

Read the 2018 Annual Review of Austin’s Innovation District here:

The promise of Austin’s Innovation District is not one of revitalization. It is about creating conditions that will make the most of our opportunities. It’s about maximizing value along the four pillars of the Innovation District: connection, investment, capacity, and place.

It is about going from good… to great.

The Innovation District is chartered by a consortium of academic and civic stakeholders and place-makers. They share a common purpose, core principles, and a drive to spark innovation that inclusively supports community health and economic well-being.

The growing consortium today includes:

  • The University of Texas at Austin
  • Central Health (Travis County’s health district)
  • Ascension Seton
  • The Downtown Austin Alliance
  • Opportunity Austin

Capital City Innovation

Capital City Innovation is the organizing entity charged with stewardship of the Innovation District consortium’s vision, activities, and growth.

Capital City Innovation (CCI) is the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that is providing vision, strategic direction, advocacy, and synergy among the entities and individuals creating, growing, and sustaining Austin’s Innovation District.

Capital City Innovation was formed by Ascension Seton, Central Health, UT Austin, with support from the Downtown Austin Alliance and Opportunity Austin. It completed its first full year of operation in 2018. Its stakeholders have developed a strategy that builds a consortium of collaborators and district developers, starting with CCI’s founding organizations.

While CCI might be new, the concept of Austin’s Innovation District is not. Many organizations have contributed to the conversation and planning over a number of years.

Ultimately the promise of the emerging Innovation District will be realized over many years. But CCI is excited to be moving forward with partners to grow the next great creative hub in Austin.

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