D3 + UIX : INSIGHT - The Skills Required for Innovation
By Kat Hartman
Communications Manager at Data Driven Detroit
Analyst for the UIX Initiative
April 12, 2013
We have hit the one year mark with the Urban Innovation Exchange (UIX) initiative. While we have been busy this past year showcasing and supporting the growing social innovation movement in Detroit, we have also been surveying our innovators one by one by one. In order to better understand their collective potential for impact, we have built a rich data set that tracks demographics, an innovator’s perception of themselves and Detroit, basic project stats, and their support network. After one year we have interviewed an initial 60 innovators as identified by UIX; we are now able to start sharing some of our preliminary insights.
What tools are required for success? Innovation and entrepreneurship often require a variety of skill sets. In our survey, we asked innovators to rate how important certain skill sets (on a scale of 0 – 4) are to the success of their project as well as their adeptness at those skills. Building Relationships and Networking were listed as the most essential skills, suggesting that our pending social network analysis of the innovator’s support network will reveal some important insights as well.
The difference between the two skill rankings describes an innovator’s perceived skill gap. The largest skill gaps were in Web Design, Web Development (coding) and Graphic Design. There was only one area that innovators collectively felt they excelled in: leading meetings. In short, in order to be successful, innovators will need access to training opportunities or networking opportunities with others who have other skills. While Detroit is building a strong start-up culture, it seems that tech skills are still in very high demand. Attracting and retaining, as well as training, tech innovators will increase the potential for our social innovation movement to have long term impact.
In total, the UIX initiative will profile and survey 300+ social innovators in Detroit over the course of its 3 year project cycle. The UIX initiative is committed to surveying a diverse group of Detroit based innovators. At this point we have surveyed 60 innovators, 30 percent of which were born in Detroit and 55 percent in Michigan. Of those who responded, 46.7 percent of innovators are people of color and 40.0 percent are white. 45 percent are women and 53 percent are men. 100 percent of those innovators who gave their highest level of received education (91.7 percent) have at least some college education. 54.5 percent of those who answered had an advanced degree. 46.7 percent of our 60 initial innovators are married or living with a partner. 25.0 percent of these innovators have children or other dependents living with them. As we collect more surveys, we will be able to breakdown questions further by these demographics and others. In order to insure privacy, we are currently limited in the level of detail we can share. If you are an innovator, fill out your survey! If you know an innovator, recommend them through the UIX website under the “About” tab: www.uixdetroit.com
Any questions about the UIX dataset can be directed to:
Kat Hartman / Data Driven Detroit