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BIG Ideas



Transportation & tours



Past Big IDeas

 2014 BIG Ideas: The Future of Our Cities is taking place October 24-26, 2014. Mark your calendar now! This year’s BIG Ideas will be hosted by the City of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  Attendees can expect a unique weekend, experiencing the coastal beauty of the area. 

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 local government. The Alliance for Innovation is transforming local government through the power of innovation and collaboration. We serve as the platform for local governments who are passionate about nurturing an innovative culture and building the future of local government today.


Friday, October 24, Sonesta Hotel, Infinity Ballroom


Registration Opens


 Event Welcome and Overview

 Vulnerability, Resilience and Innovation, Rebecca Ryan, Next Generation Consulting


 Reception at hotel


 Dinner on the beach

Saturday, October 25, Sonesta Hotel, Infinity Ballroom


B-cycle Bike Ride: an hour long guided bike ride along the beach and city points of interest.




 Welcome and Introduction to the Day's Program

 Environmental Resiliency:

 David Kauffman, FEMA

 Jim Hunt, Amazing Cities


 Small group discussion and report out




 Economic Resiliency:

 Robin White, Meridian Institute, Regional Resiliency Institute

 Kristen Jeffers, Kristen Jeffers Media


 Small group discussion and report out


 Lunch at hotel


 Emotional Resiliency:

 Peter Kageyama, author of For the Love of Cities

 Nancy Freed, City of Aurora, CO


 Small group discussion and report out


 Large group discussion


 Dream, Think, Relax, Play!


 Reception and dinner on chartered yacht (shuttle transportation leaves from hotel)

Sunday, October 26, Sonesta Hotel, Infinity Ballroom




 Conversation and questions with White Paper authors


 Participant Reflection: What did we hear? What does it Mean? What do we do with  it?




BIG Ideas will take place at the beautiful beach side Sonesta Hotel. The sun. The surf. The soft sandy beach. They’re all just steps away from the recently renovated Sonesta Fort Lauderdale. Perfectly situated alongside inviting Atlantic shores and the city’s charming canal system, this AAA approved Four Diamond-rated oceanfront hotel boasts sweeping views of Fort Lauderdale Beach, a 7-mile stretch of bliss. Check in to this stylish and sophisticated haven … and “check out” from the rest of the world as we infuse every detail of your stay with seaside tranquility. Wireless Internet access is complimentary throughout the hotel including guestrooms.  Please make room reservations by October 3, 2014 to reserve at the discounted group price.

Click here to reserve your room. 


Sonesta Fort Lauderdale

999 North Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard • Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304

Tel: 954.315.1460 Fax: 954.302.5260

The Sonesta Fort Lauderdale is conveniently located on the corner of A1A and Sunrise Boulevard.

From Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport, (Approximately 7 miles):

Take US1 (Federal Hwy) North to Sunrise Boulevard. Head east to beaches and A1A.


Everglades Tour during BIG Ideas
October 26, 2014

Step out of the hotel and into the Everglades! During the hour long bus ride to the Everglades, BIG Ideas attendees will hear a presentation from City of Fort Lauderdale staff speaking to the impact climate change is having and will have on this unique habitat. Then once at the Everglades, climb aboard a state-of-the-art airboat for an unforgettable experience in the Florida Everglades. The highly-trained tour guides pilot their vessels over the sawgrass out into remote sections of the Everglades, all while explaining to you what it is you’re seeing. They have special places they take their passengers which are known to be frequented by the gators. Once there, the engines are cut so as not to disturb the animals. Then the alligators and other wildlife begin to appear. It’s truly a thrilling sight to behold.

Each watercraft has a covered passenger compartment. This means that you can enjoy the airboat ride in any weather. Plus, you won’t get sunburned! It’s the ultimate airboat thrill and also the most comfortable! For more information on the tour experience, please see

Cost of the tour is $50 and includes lunch, transportation and the tour. Bus transportation will leave the hotel at 11:30 am and return by 4:00pm.


Registration is $435 for the two and one half day meeting. All meals are provided for the duration of the event. Guests are welcome to attend dinners each night with the purchase of a ticket.

Attendees can purchase a dinner ticket during the registration process.




BIG Ideas: The Future of Local Government is generously sponsored by the Active Network, CH2M HILL, HR Green and the city of Fort Lauderdale.






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: