Future Ready Nashville

A DesignShop Event | December 17-19, 2014

America has reached a point where almost all problems can be solved, especially at the local level. Nashville has everything it needs to be Future Ready. This program invites selected activists to experience the DesignShop process, while launching our intentional process of making Nashville Future Ready.


Followup meeting at Avenue Bank

At the meeting, we began to discuss how we might go forward after the DesignShop. At the event, we acted as a think tank, generating ideas and recommendations. Now the event is over, the questions about who/what we are becoming and how we will function are emerging. 

Several themes iterated through the night:

  • How do we preserve our think tank side (and sponsor a longterm series of DesignShops) while at the same time taking action on the many projects we envision?
  • How do we articulate our vision and who we are in a way that is compelling, attracts support and guides our framework for managing our work?
  • How do we organize our work?
  • How do we move forward on particular projects to get quick wins?

Who are we? What is our vision?

We are an unusual, ambitious, absolutely diverse group of people passionate about the need for large scale change in our city to prepare all to thrive in the future. We are a cross sector collaboration, not led or able to be co-opted by incumbent power holders.

  • Facilitators (A Think Tank)—All leaders of Nashville need to experience the DesignShop process to join the conversation and inject new voices into the issues.
  • Advocates
  • Catalysts/Launchers—Launch pilot projects
  • Innovators People who expect and launch change without expecting the government to take charge and supply the funding
  • We create scaffolding to the future. We have a long term, many year agenda. We are about access and inclusion.
  • Watchdog that promotes accountability. We become the Chamber of Change.
  • We are action and results oriented.

How do we communicate about ourselves?

Inclusive Urbanization is a compelling external brand. Future Ready Nashville is more internal. It directs our process and strategic approach.

Maybe we should be branding the process, it’s the only thing we actually own, those three days we had together. The process brings people together around the future of the city. Articulating why we decided to come together to give three days is the essential emotional/visceral hook that describes who and why we are and attracts others to the mission.

Why: Future Ready Nashville provides a process for civil engagement in the mindful, transformational change of our community. 

What happens: Work groups (such as inclusive urbanization) that come out of the think tank have their own autonomy. They are the action branch of the organization. Each branch, such as the community engagement website, has its own life.  

Concrete steps

  • Create a presentation about ourselves that inspires people
  • Raise the volume (inclusive urbanization is a great term for that)
  • Find partners to help spread our message
  • Quick wins
    • Website with information about the community
    • Look at 3 months, 6 months and one year
    • 3 months: Approach Institute for Civic Leadership or Vandy’s Community Development Program, have them take on Inclusive Urbanization idea and identify leaders aligned with our mission spokes. Dialogue with William Williams for PR. Get PR exposure with editors.
    • Pilot one street with buses running every ten minutes
    • Lobby Planning Commission to require affordable housing in any project requiring a zoning change
    • 6 months: have a good definition of Inclusive Urbanization, slick visually attractive piece with support from the Urban Design Center
  • Have a partner like the lodge that can leverage our efforts
  • Need to raise money to run DesignShops

Potential partners

  •  Institute of Civic Leadership at Lipscomb
  • Incoming Metro Council leaders such as Colby Sledge, Freddy McConnell and Peter Westerholm

Organizing the work/Next Steps

  • Two lanes: action and think tank
  • Lean startup: have a vision, start something and allow more specifics to emerge
  • Get together often
  • Put together a piece to describe our vision
  • Each person commit to what they want to do, using all strengths/core competencies
  • Consider creating subcommittees
  • Instigate more DesignShops, concentrate the first one on Inclusive Urbanization. Need to decide
    • Who attends
    • What topics
  • Raise money
  • The group attending is the steering committee.