3 Things To Do When That Exhilarating Startup Vibe Begins To Fill the Air
How To Ignite Economic & Cultural Prosperity
This post was sponsored by Capital One, but as always, all opinions are my own.
When a tech community starts booming, excitement fills the air.
New companies launch, new people move to the area. Cultures blend, ideas flow. It’s exhilarating. The community is ripe with prosperity and innovation — with major tech companies and talent, support for new business and terrific overall quality of life with low housing costs, low unemployment and appealing communities.
Everything seems like it’s headed in the right direction, but is it?
Recently, I was invited to the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) area by Capital One for the “Reimagine Communities Symposium” and the launch of its “DFW 2026: Igniting Economic and Cultural Prosperity in North Texas” report, created in partnership with Institute for the Future.
To give you some background on Capital One — it’s not just a financial institution, it’s a forward-thinking technology company that’s investing in innovation, leadership and community impact. In 2015, it launched a national, multi-year effort, called “Future Edge” and committed $150 million over five years to help more Americans succeed in the digitally-driven economy.
As part of this initiative, Future Edge DFW symbolizes Capital One’s commitment to make DFW a destination for top talent, spur growth as a world-renowned technology hub, and nurture leaders of tomorrow. The “DFW 2026” report is a part of that effort.
The report’s main focus is on North Texas’ tremendous technological advancement and the importance of balancing other aspects of its communities to make sure the area builds not just a strong tech infrastructure, but a strong physical one, too.
So, taking a page from the report — as any area starts to boom from tech and innovation, what steps can it take to successfully build vibrant, resilient communities?
Empower with education.
As a dynamic and diverse job market bolsters a steady influx of workers to the region, work that requires some postsecondary education but less than a bachelor’s degree will also increase.
In DFW’s case, approximately 80 percent of jobs will require digital skills for spreadsheet, word processing and productivity software; computer networking skills; and occupationally specific digital skills for health or manufacturing work.
Community programs that train present and future workers — and expand their digital knowledge — will open the doors to more middle-skill options, leaving more lucrative opportunities. This must be done to avert a future middle-skills and income gap crisis.
Embrace the arts.
Where does creativity come from?
The arts, says Sanjiv Yajnik, President of Capital One’s Financial Services. “And the arts equals quality of life.”
The arts instill creativity, which will help to drive new ideas and business for future generations. So as DFW grows, embracing the arts will give residents a greater quality of life as it helps to drive innovation.
As Suzanne Smith, founder and CEO of Social Impact Architects, explained in the report, “[In] DFW, we’re known for wide open spaces. And I hope [in the future] we’re wide open when it comes to opportunity, that we’re the place to come where you want to build a business, raise a family, impact your community.”
Keep history alive.
One of the risks that comes with incredible growth is the inability to uphold tradition.
In fact, the allure that comes with it can be so overwhelming to a community that residents risk “marching forward in pursuit of the Next Big Thing without reflecting on their history,” according to the report.
This is of particular concern in DFW, especially considering that the majority of its people have yet to arrive. The report recommends a deliberate grounding in the history of the area to strengthen the future for North Texas.
As an expert said during a research workshop, “You can’t learn or plan for the future without knowing history.”
Finally, as DFW or any other tech-infused area experiences rapid growth, we must remember that it’s the traditional things — training, education and the arts — paired with digital success that will empower residents for generations to come.
Take a closer look at the data and read the “DFW 2026: Igniting Economic and Cultural Prosperity in North Texas” report at http://www.capitaloneinvestingforgood.com.