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The Alliance for Innovation is inspiring innovation to advance communities with the help of our partner Arizona State University.
Guided by research and real-world experience, the Alliance impacts organizations and communities, changing the way local government performs. We are accessible and valuable to all levels of an organization.
The Alliance for Innovation delivers invigorating content, helps you gain a learning edge and partners with ASU to provide industry-leading research.
The Alliance for Innovation, formerly the Innovation Groups, has been expanding its network to more and more local governments and creating partnerships since its inception. History of the Partnership and the Birth of the Alliance for Innovation In late 2002, earnest talks of forming an alliance between The Innovation Groups and The International City/County Management Association (ICMA) began. IG and ICMA initiated co-sponsored workshops to test the waters of this new relationship. With the retirement of founder Bob Havlick in June, 2003, a new era began when former Texas City Manager Bob Hart became the IG President in December, 2003. Hart worked with the IG Board and ICMA Executive Director Bob O’Neill to find a key third partner. All parties agreed that a university partner was essential to forge an alliance that would bring cutting-edge ideas and applied research to local governments. IG issued a request for interest among universities and with ICMA began the search for the last peg of the alliance. On June 2, 2006, the Innovation Groups Board unanimously voted to choose Arizona State University as the university partner for the Alliance, as did the ICMA Board. In Yuma, AZ on October 13 and 14, three representatives of ASU and three representatives of ICMA joined the IG board for the first Alliance board meeting. The group amended the IG bylaws to incorporate the new board structure and decided that IG would become the “Alliance for Innovation.” This new name was put to a vote of the IG membership in May 2007 and passed with 179 “Yes” votes, 4 “No” votes, and 161 with no response. On June 1, 2007, the organization legally became the “Alliance for Innovation, Inc.” The Alliance continues today with its strategic research partner Arizona State University. Enhanced Research Partnership When the Innovation Groups (Alliance for Innovation), ICMA and Arizona State University, initially formed its partnership, their work included the development and dissemination of innovations through research. Capitalizing on the strengths of each of its components, the Alliance launched with a vision to become the premier force for innovation in local governance. To fulfill its intended purpose, the Alliance for Innovation, in collaboration with ICMA's Center for Management Strategies created a framework to disseminate new leading practices to local governments. The result of this framework was the Enhanced Research Partnership. The work resulting from the Enhanced Research Partnership can be found on the Research Projects section of the Alliance website.
In 2016, the Alliance Board of Directors approved a new strategic plan identifying the ways in which the Alliance will deliver on its commitment to local governments and its core values. This four-part plan over the course of four years demonstrates how the Alliance will be the catalyst for more vibrant communities through local government innovation. Our focus over the next four years will be on supporting and growing a network of local government innovators, leveraging research to identify leading practices and emerging issues, inspiring innovative cultures and practices in local government, and being a major force in the innovation space. “The world is changing more rapidly than ever before. The Alliance for Innovation is the home for local government innovators who are hungry to advance local government and inspire others across the globe. It is the place for those who want to make a difference in the world, to collaborate around the challenges and opportunities that are before us,” states Michael Wilkes, City Manager of Olathe, Kansas and Chair of the Alliance for Innovation Board of Directors. Zelos, a consulting firm in Alexandria, Virginia that serves many local governments, led the strategic planning process alongside Alliance Board Members, staff, local government professionals, and representatives from the academic community. The process began one year ago when we took stock through a targeted environmental scan. Then, a Strategic Planning Committee kicked off the planning meeting in Arlington, Virginia debating and charting the direction of the Alliance over the next four years. Following the face-to-face meeting, over fifty individuals committed their time to participate on Goal Committees, finetuning the plan. We heard voices that shared the importance of the Alliance advocating and educating about the innovations and new practices that are working and showing promise in the field. We heard a strong desire to convene thought leaders around emerging issues, as well as requests to help localities build a framework for creating an innovative culture in their organizations. Our ideas—and input from our stakeholders—guided us to our path and goals for the future. Karen Thoreson, President of the Alliance for Innovation, states, “We are excited about working together to build and advance innovative communities. I invite local government professionals to join us on our journey, be early adopters, and help set the path for generations to come.” View the 2017-2020 Strategic Plan