BIG Ideas

Register now for BIG Ideas 2019, Sept. 13-15 focusing on the topic of "Two Americas".

Clearwater, FL
Clearwater, FL

BIG Ideas 2019

Register Now

Join your colleagues for a lively discussion at the 11th annual BIG Ideas meeting September 13-15, 2019 in Clearwater, Florida. You will dive deep into discussions, find solutions in small groups, and learn a new way to think about some of the emerging challenges facing local governments.

Hosted by the Alliance for Innovation, BIG Ideas is a national event that gathers progressive leaders to explore critical issues for the future of communities. The Alliance's mission is to help build thriving communities by transforming local government, elevating strategy, culture, and ecosystem collaboration to accomplish our agenda for changeovation is inspiring innovation to advance communities. 

Contact us with any questions at or 888.496.0944.

2019 Topic: Two Americas

Our country is seeing a growing economic divide that is manifesting in things like lack of affordable housing or medical care, underfunded public schools, the digital divide, workforce shortages, urban-rural divide, etc. There seems to be “Two Americas” in terms of “haves” and “have-nots” – but what should local government’s role be in addressing the repercussions to our residents? How do we address the expectations across the spectrum of “haves” and “have-nots”?

Attendees will join Provocateurs in large and small group conversations to discuss the impacts of this divide and how it affects our communities and local governments. Roughly 100 leaders from across North America will join together in small teams to discuss the best of the best out there right now, and stretch the boundaries of what's possible to develop new solutions.


BIG Ideas 2019 will take place at the Hilton Clearwater Beach. Newly renovated and seated on 10 acres of the #1 Beach in the Country as voted by Trip Advisor, Hilton Clearwater Beach Resort & Spa overlooks the Gulf of Mexico. This iconic hotel offers food and drink service nearly to the water's edge, and features the only tiki bar on the sand, private beach cabanas and new pools. Refresh and revitalize in our beautiful new Hibiscus Spa or take in a legendary sunset while dining on fresh, local fare. BIG Ideas attendees and guests receive a discounted rate of $189. Book your room by August 20, 2019 here


Friday, September 13

12:45pm - Offsite Tours depart from Hilton Clearwater Beach

3:00pm - Offsite tours return to Hilton Clearwater Beach

3:15pm - Check-in starts

4:00pm - Welcome and Opening Session

Evaluate Existing Community Services – Local government has access and expertise to undertake evaluation of current conditions.

  • Inventory community support networks and collect data on community and socioeconomic indications
  • What does the community and socioeconomic data reveal in terms of existing partners and service assets as well as service voids and redundancies?
  • Define areas of focus for community partners available to help address the service voids and socioeconomically challenged

6:00pm - Networking reception at Hilton Clearwater Beach          

Saturday, September 14

9:00am - Program Begins

Convene Community Engagement – Local government can serve as a convener and facilitator of community and partner engagement

  • What socioeconomic needs and service voids are identified through community engagement?  Does the Step #1 evaluation align with the community’s identification of service gaps? 
  • Does community engagement identify and reach available partners/key players participating in programs and services?

Create A Community Support System

  • Who – Local government and identified community partners
  • What – Create a customized framework for a system that addresses socioeconomic needs throughout the community
  • How – Engage with nonprofits/private sector to develop a framework on how resources/aid will be delivered throughout your community and how progress will be evaluated in the futur

Define Local Government’s Roles in the Community Support System

  • Service provider
  • Funding provider
  • Central facilitator and evaluator

3:00pm - BREAK (Dream, think, plan, play!)

6:00pm - Networking reception at Hilton Clearwater Beach

Sunday, September 15

9:00am - Program begins

  • Wrap up discussion
  • What are you taking home?

12:00pm - Program concludes

Confirmed Provocateurs

What speakers are called at BIG Ideas...because they just provoke conversation. All attendees are speakers!


Dale Brill, Senior Vice President, Orlando Economic Partnership


Tour Info

Pinellas Safe Harbor - Attendees will tour this unique emergency homeless shelter and jail diversion program. Pinellas Safe Harbor is a cost-effective shelter and service headquarters for homeless people involved in the criminal justice system in Pinellas County. It is also a portal for inmates re-entering the community from the Pinellas County Jail (PCJ).

Pinellas Safe Harbor opened January 2011. The primary objective of the shelter is to keep Pinellas County's homeless population out of the criminal justice system. Pinellas Safe Harbor provides men and women with a safe environment while they pursue services needed to get back on their feet. As a result, the population of ordinance violators and non-violent offenders in the Jail reduces, resulting in significant savings to taxpayers.

Pinellas Safe Harbor is operated by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office in partnership with the Pinellas/Pasco Public Defender's Office, WestCare Foundation, Metropolitan Ministries, Pinellas County Health and Human Services, Directions for Living, Pinellas County Homeless Leadership Board and donations from participating cities, civic groups, and citizens that have contributed significantly to the program. For more information,  

The Chi Chi Rodriguez Academy – Attendees will be given a tour of a unique partnership school that serves fourth through eighth-grade students who are not achieving at their grade level, have low self-esteem, or difficulty adjusting to their academic environment. Chi Chi Rodriguez Academy is made possible by a unique public-private partnership between the Pinellas County School System and the Chi Chi Rodriguez Youth Foundation. The Academy uses a holistic approach in its programs. Emphasis is placed on homework assistance, tutoring, social skills, core values, business skills, retail, art, landscaping, and golf. In addition to the living classrooms, the small-school atmosphere, individual attention, counseling, and availability of student services and special instruction foster a desire in Academy students to succeed.


Learn About Past BIG Ideas