"WE CONDUCT AND TEACH INNOVATION AND DESIGN RESEARCH WITH A GOAL OF SUPPORTING THE CREATIVE COMMUNITY AS THEY DRIVE FROM ABSTRACT IDEAS TO REAL CHANGES IN THE WORLD."- DAVID OWENS-EVANS FAMILY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE WOND’RY, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY’S CENTER FOR INNOVATION AND DESIGN
Nashville has always been a great place for members of the creative class. It has more than its fair share of the spirit of innovation and, as I was told when I moved here, more recording studios than bars and more microphones than people. And while the artistic creativity is widely known, a broader and more fundamental force in Nashville and the region is the creative dexterity of the community. This is readily apparent as the innovation ecosystem of Nashville evolves in both breadth and depth. That dexterity is at work as we grow our music business into music-tech and our healthcare services expertise grows into areas of biotech. And it is apparent as we transform from a distribution hub into a leader in smart city logistics and from a finance center into a fintech mecca, to name but a few of the profound industry transformations taking place in the city.
At the Wond’ry, Vanderbilt’s innovation center, we have a significant part to play in this growth as well. To support creative dexterity across the region, we don’t take direct responsibility for innovating. Rather, and more importantly, we take responsibility for identifying and removing barriers that stop innovation.
We do this by providing tools, space, technology, capital, resources, and most importantly, direct access to a diverse network of experts, mentors, and an enthusiastic and creative community across the campus, city, and the region. Driven by the insight that not understanding how to go about doing innovation can itself be a barrier (which is why it is easier to envision change than to achieve it), we conduct and teach innovation and design research with a goal of supporting the creative community as they drive from abstract ideas to real changes in the world.
I love that Nashville is such a creative city. And what I find amazing is how many different and effortless ways that creativity and innovation show up and unfold across the community.