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With Just Getting Started, Deputy Mayor and City Administrator Dr. Kanika Tomalin is “telling the St. Pete story” through one-on-one conversations with change-makers. With many exciting plans and projects on the horizon, St. Petersburg’s upward trajectory remains strong. “So much has been done, but here’s the secret: We’re just getting started.

11/07/2020 | Episode 10 | 26:15

Just Getting Started: Collaboration is key in the Innovation District

Just Getting Started: Collaboration, creativity and the Innovation District

Dr. Tomalin's guest is Alison Barlow, executive director of the St. Petersburg Innovation District. Based around a concentration of research-oriented anchor institutions, the district exists to identify innovative solutions that will grow economic and social vibrancy in our city; the "cross-pollination" that can exist between disciplines. "Who knows what will come out of that?" Barlow asks. "That's a lot of what an innovation district, in my book, is about - possibilities."

Key Insights

  • Innovation districts are the convergence of organizations and people around core industry areas.
  • In St. Pete, the core areas are Marine Sciences, Life Sciences and Data Analytics.
  • There are partnerships outside the geographic boundaries of the district. "Because innovation doesn't happen in one square mile in St. Pete."
  • The St. Pete Innovation District is the professional home to thousands of scientists, doctors, educators and entrepreneurs working together to make life better.
  • "One of the things that most intrigues me right now is the crossover between science and art," Barlow said. "We are an arts city. But we are also a tech and science city."
  • Potential crossover innovation at the Tropicana Field site is discussed.
  • "People ask me, how do I become a member? I say, just put up your hand and say 'I want to be a part of it.'"
  • Groundbreaking for the new Tampa Bay Innovation Center is scheduled for July 2021, on city-owned land in the Innovation District.

Dr. Tomalin’s guest is Alison Barlow, executive director of the St. Petersburg Innovation District. Based around a concentration of research-oriented anchor institutions, the district exists to identify innovative solutions that will grow economic and social vibrancy in our city; the “cross-pollination” that can exist between disciplines. “Who knows what will come out of that?” Barlow asks. “That’s a lot of what an innovation district, in my book, is about – possibilities.”

 

When you take a marine scientist and a pediatric researcher, and you provide them a vehicle to have a conversation, what can come out of that?"

We don't operate in silos terribly much any more. Really and truly, that cross-disciplinary field is the field of the future."

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About the host

Dr. Kanika Tomalin is a thought leader, policy-maker, community ambassador, and health advocate.

As the first African-American, female Deputy Mayor and City Administrator of one of Florida’s largest cities, Dr. Kanika Tomalin is a role model for women from all walks of life and an advocate for innovative policies, equitable community revitalization, healthy families, at-risk youth and education.

Her signature initiative, Healthy St. Pete, which launched in 2014, has made community health a priority and impacts the lives of thousands of Sunshine City residents. By creating access to healthy food options, implementing free fitness zones in city parks and adding resources for individuals and families to make healthy living easier – Dr. Tomalin has made a tangible difference.

Dr. Tomalin’s understanding of the critical role health plays as a determinant of overall quality of life was shaped prior to her career in the public sector. She quickly climbed the ranks in the healthcare industry, most recently serving as the regional vice president of External Affairs for the Bayfront Health Network and director of Strategy for Health Management Associates’ 23-hospital Florida Group.


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