Conference explores resiliency in governing

Recovery does not equal resiliency. This was one of the key takeaways from the Alliance for Innovation’s 2014 BIG Ideas conference, a gathering of more than 100 thought leaders from the public and private sector.

“By bringing together leaders from across the spectrum – business, education, foundations and government – we explore critical issues, exchange ideas and foster innovative ways of thinking about plans for the future of our communities,” says Karen Thoreson, president of the Alliance for Innovation.

The Alliance for Innovation is a unique collaboration of members, supported by Arizona State University’s College of Public Service and Community Solutions, and the International City/County Management Association. The annual BIG Ideas event aims to explore cross-cutting challenges facing local governments.

This year, the group examined adversity and better ways communities can adapt to future challenges.

“Resiliency for our communities requires more than the ability to bounce back,” says Thoreson.

Four primary themes emerged: prepare and plan today; institutionalize resiliency; build collaboration; and the importance of communication.

Opening the conference, Rebecca Ryan, resident futurist for the Alliance, stressed the need to embrace adversity. She explored protective and promotive factors that cities use and how “innovation and resilience will occur to those best prepared.”

Other speakers led interactive discussions on environmental, economic and emotional resiliency.

Summaries from the conference presentations and a recap from Public Sector Digest are available on the Alliance website. For more, visit