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Equipping Future Ready Communities by Inspiring Leaders

by Kim Bradford, Alliance for Innovation Strategic Initiatives Director

Utilizing the Next Big Things tool and workshop, Phoenix's Inspiring Leadership program is forging a common foundation to address future issues facing its community.

The City of Phoenix, Arizona is the 5th most populous city in the United States and is among the fastest growing cities in the country. As you can imagine, these combined factors heighten the importance of their continued efforts to be thinking about and preparing for “what’s next." As part of its efforts, the city has an Inspiring Leaders program that includes components such as team building, professional development, and organizational planning–specifically, preparing leaders to think about future public service trends TODAY.

As one of the original members of the Alliance for Innovation, we were pleased to be invited to host a Next Big Things overview workshop this past August as part of their overall program.

In 2015, the Alliance undertook a research project with its Resident Futurist, Rebecca Ryan of Next Generation Consulting, to look beyond the horizon and what we can currently see, and imagine our communities one generation from now. The Next Big Things report highlights 44 trends in four categoriesResources, Technology, Demographics, and Governancethat could impact how local government operates in the next generation. The project also resulted in tools to help local governments be FUTURE READY COMMUNITIES!

Utilizing this tool and workshop, the leaders in Phoenix’s program created a common understanding and expectation around the key priorities facing their community in the upcoming years. Forging into visioning and planning discussions with this common foundation allows the group to move forward collaboratively into the future.

To learn more about the Next Big Things research project, findings, and tools, visit the Alliance’s website here: Contact us at to learn more about apply these tools to your organization’s planning efforts or to inquire about on-site workshops.

Interested in more opportunities to interact with the Alliance's Resident Futurist? Attend our upcoming workshop, Four Innovators Walk Into a Bar..., on the 3rd of October.

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City of Phoenix, AZ