Nashville has a legacy of leaders who have always been able to anticipate the needs of our city and stay ahead of the curves.
This amazing gathering has demonstrated, Middle Tennessee has grown and diversified.
And yet, Nashville is still a town where relationships make a difference and where business is conducted as clusters of community leaders.
At various periods of history, many small groups of business leaders, political-minded citizens, faith-based institutions, and social innovators have taken the lead on social, environmental, and economic issues.
Thirty years ago, a little-known cadre of men called the Watauga Group made many of the key decisions in Nashville. Based at the City Club on the top floor of the former Third National Bank and at the Belle Meade Country Club, this group of wealthy bankers, insurance and manufacturing executives set the direction for future of the city and conducted their own corporate business.
A next generation of leaders has built many new organizations and infrastructures, but now the forces of exponential change, growth and complexity are overwhelming our ability of any one group to stay ahead of the curve.
We have built the Leadership Lodge and brought Matt and Gail Taylor here as Artists-In-Residence because we sensed our city needed a far more inclusive, democratic, future-focused design capability—a capability that may be our only real hope for getting ahead of the curve.
Our “big bet” is that a large scale, voluntary, creative design effort to understand and embrace the best of humankind is the next step in our city’s evolution.
We invited this group of talent to come together over three days in order to test our assumption and our hope.
This work is only just beginning.
Many more people will be attracted to the work, will answer the call, and participate in more iterations of “Inclusive Urbanization”.
So where do we go from here? What’s next? That is for this group to decide.
We will be asking many of you to take an active role in stewarding this resource, both the building and the process you have experienced in the past three days.
We hope to invite you into a DesignShop process focused on the evolution of the lodge and its place as the fiduciary holder of the process for designing our future.
There are many more unknowns than knowns.
However, this we know: in order to become future-ready, we must create new rules of engagement and new ways of working that attract people—an umbrella idea under which countless passionate people can integrate their individual dreams into a much bigger vision without compromising their individual organizations.
We also know that we want to have many more DesignShops where others can join this collaborative effort we have all begun.
We believe the world will support those efforts.
The people who served as your facilitator this week have come from Australia and Nashville as volunteers and investors; they believe deeply n our vision and want to become stewards of the process.
I cannot thank them enough for their belief in and commitment to this crazy dream.
I am incredibly grateful to our amazing team, those who told us who to invite, and to all of you for taking this leap with us.
You now understand how unusual it is to place an institution and a city’s future in the hands of its people to design the way forward. That is what we are doing at the Leadership Lodge.
We invite and look forward to your help, always.
Nelson Andrews Leadership Lodge
One of our next steps will be to offer Matt’s intense trademark course called rebuilding the future, where we will become familiar with 500 authors who are documenting for our civilization the present and future state of the art. In addition, we will have syntopical reading sessions which explore the works of these authors in a more relaxed timeline and setting. Let me know if these offerings excite you as much as they do me.