It happens here: Consumer-centric Innovation in Charlotte and beyond

Tapping into an emotional need: a revenue-generating example in Charlotte Transit by Nheeda Enriquez
flickr photo credit: james willamor

flickr photo credit: james willamor

I attended a live taping of Charlotte Talks/WFAE Public Conversation and the topic, “Charlotte: On the way to Becoming…” stirred up wonderful dialogue about Charlotte’s future and quality of life through real estate, the environment, industry, and diversity.

The panelists shared rich, colorful examples to illustrate how a few short-sighted decisions can negatively affect the shape of the feel of a city.  But Mayor Pat McCrory also told a positive story about the brave effort to ensure the transit system (CATS and LYNX,) was always clean and free of advertising.  In doing so, they sacrificed a big revenue stream, but knew that people would feel safer if buses and light rail cars were clean and clearly branded.

The need “to feel safe” is emotional, and it’s not always obvious how that that manifests itself in a brand or solution.  And it was probably difficult to calculate the ROI for developing (or in this case, not developing) that feature.  In hindsight, however, it’s easy to see how the choice positively affects ridership in the long run.

Listen to the whole taping here.

Innovation in the news by Nheeda Enriquez
photo via charlotte magazine

photo via charlotte magazine

This week, Charlotte’s put some focus on local innovators and its impact on our town.  Charlotte Talks hosted three Innovation Leaders on its program on Tuesday.

  • Monty Montague – Co-founder and Design Principal, BOLT Group
  • Paul Wetenhall – President, Ben Craig Center Business Incubator, UNC Charlotte
  • Barbara Spradling – Director, Innovation Institute, McColl Center for Visual Art

Also, Charlotte Magazine’s August issue is dedicated to local “Geniuses” that “will change this city forever.”  Though the stories aren’t on the magazine’s website yet, some of the individuals featured include PreGel‘s Gelato King Marco Casol, soccer innovator Akbar Majeed, and the Know Your Farms‘ Christy Shi.