Tag: Megan Deal

#futureshift festival notes: Megan Deal.


Megan Deal

Megan talks about the raneg fo places she has lived in – including declining cities.  now working in the Brewery district in Cincinatti.

She designs labs and tools to strengthen cities. Labs are places and tools are programmes. We advance talent and showcase place – building around people and places.


Pie Lab – food as a catalyst to bring people in a respond to conversations with projects.

Next developing a philanthropic lab.

A moment of clarity – we realised we were lacking inspiration – bored with boardrooms.  We needed to go out and see what was happening.   Connect people together and also learn common problems and solutions.

Chasing Innovation lead to lots of interviews and ideas.  Here are some:

Glasshouse Collective, Chattanooga.   A neighbourhood collective.  Run by two young women.  Marketing and design background. Bought a building looking at improving physical spaces. Annual budget $250k

  • they only work in a one mile corridor.  that focus makes sense.
  • rallying local people and working with existing projects.
  • compensating your connectors if what thing they do.
  • they aim to turn artists into entrepreneurs
  • they says it’s important to make friends with your mayor.

Big Car Indianapolis – Mid western city. Suburban lab – sits in a mall parking lot in and old tyre servicue centre. A group of artists.

  • Invite community to be co creators.
  • start small and stay small.
  • don’t be a fire station – don’t react all the time.  Don’t be the place that responds to every idea.

D:hive Detroit. A store that helps connect people to opportuntiies- is an “air traffic controller” – directing people.

  • be welcoming
  • be a connector
  • has a finite timeline – will close within threes years. Can add a sense of urgency to your work.

Themes and trends

  • They often have a chief visionary – one or two people at the maximum.  They often come from diverse backgrounds. are entrepreneurial.
  • Teams are often credited. They have key roles,  curator (develops programme), connector (intentionally building relationships)   Manager – makes things happen, communicator makes sure the right messages.  When projects start one or two people do this.
  • They have a core mission and those that succeed tend to focus on that.
  • They nurture talent
  • They have a patron or a number of sources of revenue.  Grants or a product.
  • They share their story widely.


  • Two many roles for the people who get things started
  • Documenting and sharing can be a challnge
  • finding money to operate and experiment
  • share story succinctly is a problem (to focussed on measuring)
  • sharing impact.

Hown to help?

  • Build project SWAT teams
  • Toolkits to package up projetcs
  • Knowledge exchange for visionaries – form different cities and countries
  • Scale investment over time – grant grows as project grows.


  • Use English  –  speak in concrete terms, what are you doing?
  • Think on paper.  Write things down on one sheet of paper.
  • You can do anything but not everything.  Be proactive not reactive.  Say no – it’s ok.
  • Flirt with failure – it helps the whole process.
  • The lone ranger is dead – find a buddy.  You can do more with a partner. Two people makes things better
  • Simplify:  the way you communicate and talk about your work
  • Compensate connectors.
  • Investing in place starts with investing in people.


  • What do we have
  • where do we want to go
  • how can we get there?


  • What am I good at?
  • what do I care about?
  • is there a need?
  • will someone pay for it?