What Exactly is DXF and Why Does That Matter?

In September, I had the privilege of stepping in as DXF’s new Executive Director - taking over for founder and ED of 13 years, Jeanette Pierce.  It’s been a wonderfully overwhelming six months filled with on-boarding to DXF’s energy and activities, getting to know the diverse network DXF engages, transitioning into leading the day-to-day work, and digging into a strategic planning process to understand how to lead into the future.  

There’s a lot already going on at DXF.  Our public tours and custom experiences give an insider’s view of Detroit and introduce participants to things to love all over Detroit.  Our concierge program provides a pop-up welcome center at any event or venue - introducing attendees to what they can do while in Detroit and answering questions about what they can discover in culture, food, drink, and more.  We also promote inclusive prosperity as we work with tours stops downtown and the neighborhoods, promote small businesses and local innovators, and help participants engage with Detroit’s complex history and current context.

And there’s more to come.  I’m excited to announce that DXF has completed a new strategic plan.  The Executive Summary gives a quick-read overview on how we will move into the future.  In the full Strategic Plan, you can find an expanded summary in the first 14 pages, followed by a review of our research and findings in building the plan, and details of how we will execute our plan.  The whole thing is a great read - giving solid insights into DXF’s path forward and details of how we will move down that path.

I’d also guess you’re not here for me to repeat what you can read in the plan.  So let’s dig deeper and get more concrete on the direction for DXF’s future. In this post, I’m going to focus on how we built the plan and what we learned from Detroiters about what makes DXF special.

Please, take a read and comment.  What do you think of our process for creating our strategic plan and moving DXF into the future?  What are some of your favorite aspects of DXF and our work? What can we do to build on those assets going forward?

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The journey matters - how we built our strategic plan

Recognizing that we have to transition from a founder-led to a team-led organization, the entire DXF team was involved in brainstorming sessions and review cycles to create the plan.  The team also took research trips--two days of tours in Chicago and Toronto--and the findings are one of my favorite parts of the plan. We learned that our neighbors find many aspects of Detroit’s revitalization inspiring and hope to emulate what’s happening here.  And our tour providers, while fantastic, consistently bolstered our confidence that DXF experiences offer exceptional value and leading practices when compared to regional competition. Investing in our team’s capacity to grow and lead the work will continue to be critical to our future successes.

We also sought diverse input from DXF’s network through 1:1 interviews and a community engagement tour.  I was impressed with the many insights on what Detroit needs from DXF. Some clear themes also arose about the assets DXF can build on, our most important growth opportunities, and the next steps in growing DXF’s leadership on our mission.  This listening and sharing process was so impactful - inviting many voices to shape our thinking. Because of these diverse inputs, I’m even more confident that we have the right go-forward plan.

Recognizing DXF’s core assets - building on a successful foundation

We often say on tours that we can’t build the future very well if we’re not aware of the assets we already have - what’s already here to build on.  We hope to apply that wisdom to our own path forward - DXF needs to stay true to what our stakeholders find most valuable. Growth must be built on the brand and trust we’ve developed in the last 13 years.  The core of DXF’s work stays the same - as seen in our updated mission and vision statements in the plan.

DXF’s leading brand was clear from stakeholder input and our market analysis.  Locals and visitors alike trust us to show them the best and most authentic aspects of Detroit - and they consistently walk away with new things to love in the city and a richer understanding of our history and current context.  Everyone, from first-time visitors to the city’s civic and corporate leaders, looks to us to uncover un(der)told stories and hand the megaphone to inspiring local voices. Because of this work, we have developed a unique network across Detroit, that includes corporate and economic development leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators, small business owners,  and neighborhood and community organizations.

In conclusion

This is where you come in - we look to our stakeholders to continue to help us understand what’s most valuable and impactful about what we do at DXF.  Thanks in advance for sharing your stories about positive outcomes you’ve seen from our tours and community presence. Feel free to also offer ideas about how we build on the best parts of DXF going forward.

And stay tuned for part 2 - where we’ll talk more about how Detroit is changing, and what that means for the opportunities for DXF to grow and adapt in how we achieve our mission.  There are some exciting changes coming...

2018 DXF Spring Soirée Recap

A huge thank you to everyone that helped make our first ever DXF Spring Soirée the success that it was! We had such a great time with all of you, celebrating our mutual admiration for Detroit and reminiscing over the last 12 years of DXF in all it's iterations!

We'd like to call special attention to our friends at Comcast, UHY, Indian Trails and Huntington Bank who helped make this event possible through their generous donations.

Check out photo recap in the carousel below!

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Thanks to our friends at Bondo, a Photo Booth Company, for bringing over their awesome photo booth setup! You can view the full gallery of photos taken here.

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DXF Update

Detroit Experience Factory (DXF) is a nonprofit that has taken 100,000 people on experiential tours of Detroit since we began in 2006. 70% of those tour attendees are locals because our focus has always been on residents learning more about the neighborhoods, small businesses and community assets in their own backyard. Though Detroit Experience Factory is mostly known for its custom tours, they are only part of our work. The other part of DXF includes the services that don’t bring in revenue including pop up welcome centers at events around the city, free walking tours, creation of maps, checklists and other city resources and overall being a megaphone for the great people, places and projects in Detroit.

As you may have heard the Welcome Center will be closing at the end of March due to lack of funding. DXF brings in revenue through our custom tours, which will continue no matter what however, our community-focused programs are designed to be a public service to the people and businesses of metro Detroit and as such are supported through fundraising efforts. In response to requests from our community DXF has launched a crowdfunding campaign that, though not intended to save the Welcome Center, will allow us to continue the other work we do including pop up welcome centers at events around the city, free walking tours, creation of maps, checklists and other city resources and overall being a megaphone for the great people, places and projects in Detroit.

As city of Detroit residents, our work is not just a job, it’s part of our lives. We value the positive impact we are able to have in our community and hope to be able to continue that work for many years to come


How you can support DXF:

Book a Custom Tour

for your co-workers, friends or family

Join us on one of our public tours

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Sponsor DXF's Spring Soirée

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Support DXF

Detroit Wants You - March 2018

"Detroit Wants You" is our way to share great job opportunities, news, and events with you. We feature positions from a variety of industries that require different skill-sets and backgrounds, so there's a little something for everybody. This insider resource posted monthly and includes some of the latest job openings around the city! 


JOB OPPORTUNITIES:

Detroit Wants You - February 2018

"Detroit Wants You" is our way to share great job opportunities, news, and events with you. We feature positions from a variety of industries that require different skill-sets and backgrounds, so there's a little something for everybody. This insider resource posted monthly and includes some of the latest job openings around the city! 


JOB OPPORTUNITIES:

The Detroit Experience Factory Guide to the 2018 North American International Auto Show

NAIAS 2018

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It's that time of the year again, the North American International Auto Show(NAIAS) is back for 2018! Cobo Center is once again filled with the best the automotive world has to offer. Whether you visit the show annually, or will be attending for the first time this year, we've put together a handy guide to help make the best out of your auto show experience in the Motor City!


The Cars

The 2018 edition of the auto show has been full of notable new car introductions. We've listed some of them below. Check out our gallery as well for a taste of what you can expect during your visit to the show!

  • 2019 Mercedes G-Class
  • 2019 Dodge Ram
  • 2019 Chevrolet Silverado
  • 2019 Ford Ranger
  • 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt GT
  • 2018 Jeep Wrangler

Getting Around

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While we are the Motor City, there are plenty of other ways to get around Downtown Detroit during your visit to the show.

The following services are all easily accessible from the immediate area near Cobo:


Shopping

Looking to do some shopping, or pick-up some local souvenirs while here for the show? Good news, there are plenty of options located nearby!

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Essentials

From cell phone chargers to cough medicine, we often find ourselves needing some of these essentials and when we do, we need them quick. Below is a list of some nearby stores to help you out no matter what situation you're in.


Food

Restaurants

We've put together a handy document containing the names and addresses of some great nearby downtown restaurants, bars & cafe's, as well as a selection outside of the greater downtown area.

Click here

View our full Downtown Bars, Restaurants & Cafe checklists here.

View our full Neighborhoods Bars, Restaurants & Cafe checklists here.

Grocers

 

    Detroit Wants You - January 2018

    "Detroit Wants You" is our way to share great job opportunities, news, and events with you. We feature positions from a variety of industries that require different skill-sets and backgrounds, so there's a little something for everybody. This insider resource posted monthly and includes some of the latest job openings around the city! 


    JOB OPPORTUNITIES:

    Detroit Wants You - December 2017

    "Detroit Wants You" is our way to share great job opportunities, news, and events with you. We feature positions from a variety of industries that require different skill-sets and backgrounds, so there's a little something for everybody. This insider resource posted monthly and includes some of the latest job openings around the city! 


    JOB OPPORTUNITIES:

    Detroit Wants You - November 2017

    "Detroit Wants You" is our way to share great job opportunities, news, and events with you. We feature positions from a variety of industries that require different skill-sets and backgrounds, so there's a little something for everybody. This insider resource posted monthly and includes some of the latest job openings around the city! 


    JOB OPPORTUNITIES:

     

    Detroit Wants You - October 2017

    "Detroit Wants You" is our way to share great job opportunities, news, and events with you. We feature positions from a variety of industries that require different skill-sets and backgrounds, so there's a little something for everybody. This insider resource posted monthly and includes some of the latest job openings around the city! 


    JOB OPPORTUNITIES:

     

    Detroit Wants You - September 2017

    "Detroit Wants You" is our way to share great job opportunities, news, and events with you. We feature positions from a variety of industries that require different skill-sets and backgrounds, so there's a little something for everybody. This insider resource posted monthly and includes some of the latest job openings around the city! 


    JOB OPPORTUNITIES:

     

    Detroit Wants You - August 2017

    "Detroit Wants You" is our way to share great job opportunities, news, and events with you. We feature positions from a variety of industries that require different skill-sets and backgrounds, so there's a little something for everybody. This insider resource posted monthly and includes some of the latest job openings around the city! 


    JOB OPPORTUNITIES: