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Innovation Lab reporter seeks to make Utah a better place for all

Public policy, nonprofit efforts and the private sector must be brought together to solve community problems

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Innovation Lab reporter Shelley K. Mesch.

Innovation is more than just cool gadgets for the wealthy. In fact, it’s more than just new technology. Innovation is what keeps our communities moving forward.

I joined The Salt Lake Tribune’s Innovation Lab as a reporter because I want to explore the innovations that propel Utah’s communities. I’m learning from Utahns what is working and what’s not. I am talking with experts in various fields, civic leaders and entrepreneurs to see what could help make this state a better place for all.

My goal is to identify innovative ways to address some of the state’s biggest challenges. Home and rental prices are skyrocketing to unaffordable levels; droughts and pollution threaten livability; income inequality widens the quality-of-life gap between the haves and the have-nots. None of these is an easy issue, and I know I’ll be responsible for informing our readers with all the nuance and care these topics require.

By looking at interventions and regulations from local and state governments, charitable and advocacy work by nonprofits and the innovations coming out of business, I hope to offer some real understanding of community problems and actionable solutions for readers looking to be involved.

My background includes business and technology reporting, a subject I’ve been fascinated by for years because of the private sector’s ability to make major societal changes when it chooses to — whether those changes are for good or for bad. I like to learn about the ins and outs, the science and thought processes behind startups and their innovations — a passion I’m looking forward to sharing with Tribune readers.

Building a better community for everyone is a difficult task, but I know our Innovation Lab will be one more resource for activists, political leaders and everyday readers who want to make a difference.

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