Mayor Kicks Off Shark Tank-Inspired Meetings

Posted at 5:28 PM, Mar 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-28 20:43:45-04

As Nashville grows and expands, so do the city's needs. It's a complaint we're starting to hear more often.

"I think we're growing a little too fast, we've got a lot of people moving to Nashville," said long-time resident Anthony Coleman.

Monday Mayor Megan Barry introduced a new way of doing things.

"This is about you all telling me how you're going to solve a problem and how that problems going to impact the lives of Nashvillians and what the outcomes are going to be," Barry said to city department heads at the Entrepreneur Center.

With seven minutes on the clock department leaders could pitch an idea.

"We have one engineer for our signal system so we're short, were asking for eight engineers," said representatives from Public Works during their pitch to help time traffic lights more efficiently.

Other ideas include art in parks, partnerships for construction and a city-wide CPR program requested by the fire dept.

The format is inspired by the popular t.v. show Shark tank. The shark investors here are the Mayor, her C.O.O, finance and innovation directors.

And the money is yours. It will come from the regular budgeting process.

"This isn’t a gimmick," said Mayor Barry, "it's actually a really innovative way to think about the budgeting process."

Monday Metro Transit Authority brought four pitches, the most of any department.

"The issue of getting around Middle Tennessee, getting around Nashville is a hot topic right now," said MTA CEO Stephen Bland.

Bland's pitches covered bus frequency, extending bus hours, integrating the payment system and a program to work hand-in-hand with Uber and Lyft.

"I can tell you I've been watching a lot of Shark Tank to see how it might go," Bland said before the meeting.

The Mayor told everyone to emphasize collaboration and innovation.

"I think it's really forcing us to get out of our comfort zone and talk to each other more than we have in the past," Bland said.

It's another way to tackle the issues connected to a fast-growing city. You can check the schedule and live stream for the meetings happening all week here.