Alliance for Innovation Announces New CEO

Former XPRIZE Vice President and Interim President/CEO of the Institute for Innovation in Large Organizations will lead the Alliance for Innovation from July 9

ARTICLE | Jun 21, 2018
New CEO Joel Carnes

Phoenix, Arizona; June 21, 2018: The Alliance for Innovation today announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Joel Carnes as President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the U.S. and Canadian membership-based non-profit effective July 9, 2018.

Over the last five years, Carnes has driven some of the world’s most ambitious innovation programs for The XPRIZE Foundation; lead the team at SecondMuse, in partnership with multiple governments, to build and operate purpose-driven business incubators around the world and was most recently CEO of The Institute for Innovation in Large Organizations (ILO), a membership organization supporting business innovation through research, training, and local roundtables. Under his leadership, these organizations have grown significantly in efficiency, scale, and impact.

“I am excited to be a part of ‘Alliance 3.0.’ It’s a model and a roadmap that positions the Alliance for Innovation to lead, foster and support vibrant communities across the country, and around the world,” said Carnes. “My deepest motivation in serving as the next Alliance President is to support local governments in their efforts to build high-trust, high-performance cultures of innovation that can transform t­­heir communities.”

After an extensive executive recruitment process following the retirement of former President/CEO Karen Thoreson, the Alliance selected Carnes for his passion for local government issues and proven track record of delivering results. “On behalf of the Alliance Board of Directors, I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Joel Carnes as our next visionary leader. Joel is clearly the best person to lead the Alliance for Innovation during this exciting new time. He brings a unique background from both private and public sector innovation that aligns with the new strategic direction of the Alliance,” said Shannon Flanagan-Watson, Chair of the Board of Directors.


New Strategic Direction

In preparation for the transition in leadership, the Alliance for Innovation Board adopted a new strategic framework and business plan (Alliance 3.0), which focuses on advancing sustainable cultures of innovation, expanding organization-wide learning opportunities, strengthening the depth and diversity of innovation practices in local government and creating a connected community of innovators. A foundation of that plan is expanding the relationship with its academic partner, Arizona State University (ASU), which has been named the most innovative academic institution in the country for the last three years by US News and World Report. ASU also has the #2 ranked program in local government management according to the same publication. In addition to ASU, Carnes will be working with the International City/County Management Association, state and regional local government associations, and the Alliance’s many corporate partners to strengthen this vision for the future.

Carnes is actively involved in his local community, including serving as an Advisory Board Member to Los Angeles Metro’s Office for Extraordinary Innovation.  He holds a bachelor’s degree in social ecology from the University of California-Irvine and carries multiple certifications in project management, agile methodology, and exponential technologies. Click here  or visit for a full bio.

About the Alliance

The Alliance for Innovation is a not-for-profit, membership-based organization focused on inspiring innovation to advance communities with the help of our academic partner Arizona State University. Guided by research and real-world experience, the Alliance impacts organizations and communities by transforming the way local government performs. The Alliance places a special emphasis on providing guidance, value and services to employees at all levels within its member organizations.

To find out more about the Alliance for Innovation and how to join, visit or contact the Alliance at or 888.496.0944.

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