One moment...

Home / Learning / BIG Ideas

BIG Ideas Conference



Transportation & tours



Past Big IDeas

2017 BIG Ideas: The Future of Local Government will take place October 6-8 in Raleigh, North Carolina. Mark your calendarS!

Hosted by the Alliance for Innovation, BIG Ideas is an invitation-only event that gathers progressive leaders to explore critical issues for the future of communities. The Alliance for Innovation is inspiring innovation to advance communities. As the premier resource for emerging practices in local government, the Alliance is building cultures of innovation and connecting thought leaders in the profession.



To be announced.


To be announced.


To be announced.


To be announced.



BIG Ideas: The Future of Local Government is generously sponsored by HR Green, SAFEbuilt and Siemens.


Past Big Ideas Conferences

BIG IDEAs 2016 - Dublin, Ohio


Just as water is the driving force of all life, access to technology is quickly becoming the driving force of our local, national and global landscape. Without access, our community services and economies will struggle to be sustainable into the future.

Attendees will join provocateurs in large and small group conversations to discuss, “Reframing Digital Disruption.” Provocateurs spoke on trends around topics such as fiber as the 4th utility, communities modifying policies, and what governance and philosophical issues does this bring up. Over the weekend attendees evaluated their greatest opportunities and vulnerabilities in the rapidly changing digital age.

Some of the discussed include: 

  • How do we plan, fund and deploy these services to meet the existing and future needs of our communities?
  • How do we educate our communities about this imperative to make technologies deployment and equitable access a priority?
  • How do we change the political landscape to address the industries and regulations standing in our way?

The following White Papers helped to frame the discussion:


Friday, October 28, 2016 at Crowne Plaza Hotel


Registration Opens


Program Begins

Panel Session: Emerging Digital Disruptions – A Look Ahead at Technology Trends and Their Impacts on Our Communities



Reception and Dinner at Muirfield Village Golf Club (Offsite, transportation provided)

Saturday, October 29 at Crowne Plaza Hotel




Program Opens

The Broadband Imperative – The 4th Utility Defining Intelligent Communities


Adapting Approaches and Venturing In – How Technologies Disruptions are Pushing Us to Think Differently about Structure, Policies and Regulations




Transportation and Technology Impacts – Smart, Autonomous, Connected



BREAK! Dream, think, play, rest.


Reception and Dinner at Columbus Zoo (Offsite, transportation will be provided)

Sunday, October 30 at Crowne Plaza Hotel




Program Begins

Attendee reflection and activity: how this plays out, or how you want it to play out in your own community. How do you take in all that is coming at you, and make the disruptors positive?



2015 BIG Ideas - Milwuakee, WI

Community Trust: The BIG Conversation

Last year's discussions lead attendees through the timely topic of Community Trust: The BIG Conversation, taking our gaze forward to the future of our communities. As current headlines continue highlighting the polarization among the governing and the governed, BIG Ideas attendees will dive into the future of collaborative, transformative leadership. Thought leaders from across the US will facilitate provocative conversation on polarization, civility, and trust in the future of our communities.

2014 BIG IDEAS - Fort Lauderdale, Fl


This is perhaps the most important takeaway from the provocative discussion on building resilient communities at 2014 BIG Ideas. Resiliency is the ability to bounce back from adversity. It is more than recovering; adapting better for future challenges. Acknowledging the bleak reality often facing communities across the globe, leaders convened in beautiful Fort Lauderdale, FL for three days and focused their discussion on how to prepare and bounce forward stronger no matter the circumstances.

Several key themes emerged through the various discussions from the weekend:

Prepare and Plan Today: Conduct a risk and impact assessment, acknowledge your vulnerabilities and prioritize and integrate strategies.

Institutionalize Resiliency: It is a continuous process and it should be integrated into the day to day.

Collaborative Process: Connect with others. Empower, engage and build relationships with staff, citizens, nonprofits, business leaders and the region.

Communication is Critical: Establish trust and transparency.

This document is filled with information that can help jump-start your discussion. Seize the opportunity today to become a resilient community that isn’t defined by adversity, but by your response when faced with challenges and your ability to rebuild better and stronger.

2013 BIG IDEAS - Santa Monica & West Hollywood, CA

BIG Ideas 2013 looked at the future of local government, assessing the impact our decisions now will have on the landscape of local government tomorrow. 

2012 BIG IDEAS - Williamsburg, VA

BIG Ideas 2013 offers a timely contrast to the 2012 BIG Ideas: Revolutionary Ideas, held in Williamsburg.  This year’s discussions will take the lead from our historical setting. Attendees had conversations around the theme -- “BIG Ideas, Revolutionary Ideas”: A New Founding for Local Government within the American Commonwealth. BIG Ideas 2012 discussed the future of local government as seen through the lens of the ideas which gave birth to the American experiment in republican and democratic self-government; the ideas which continue to inspire and to challenge as “we the people” struggle to achieve a free, just and inclusive society.View the BIG Ideas 2012 Conference Materials

2011 BIG Ideas - Fort Collins, CO

The 2011 BIG Ideas Conference was held in Fort Collins, CO. The format was highly interactive, with attendees bridging the roles of provocateurs and being a participant.  Participants left Colorado feeling energized and inspired by the conversation that took place.

Over the course of two and a half days, attendees discussed

  1. What will the future of local government look like?
  2. Who should work there? 
  3. What work will they be doing?
  4. How will they do their work? and
  5. How will we create a place for community?

You will find below the links to the white papers that were generated to help participants prepare for the conversation:

During these events, sessions are live scribed. Below is the link to the 2011 BIG Ideas Notes that were taken during the event: