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Leadership expert and frequent TEDTalk presenter, Simon Sinek, has a lot to say about the idea of modern tribalism: forming a social network based on certain feelings such as trust, respect, and understanding. The modern tribe today, he contends, is most often a person’s place of work, where a shared set of values provides a “sense of purpose and cause.”

This past week, we saw a modern tribe in action as local government leaders from around the country gathered in Reno, NV for the Alliance for Innovation’s 25th Annual Transforming Local Government Conference (#TLG2019).

Among the many themes from TLG, the importance of peer support and learning, finding avenues for concrete action, and building an inclusive community stand out. Here are the key highlights.


TLG Attendees Support One Another—Across Different Cities and Sates

The warm, friendly atmosphere among local government attendees was immediately apparent at TLG. There were flurries of handshakes and hugs, inquiries about smart projects, legislation changes, and challenges—crossing the divide of different cities and departments. 

One attendee described the feeling of relief this conference instills, being surrounded by a group of people who “just get it.” She spelled out the contrast between discussing day-to-day challenges with TLG’ers versus a close friend, or even a spouse. With TLG, she finds instant understanding, shared endeavors, and connections to return to for support when enacting change. Most of all, unlike general lamenting, the Alliance actually provides solutions to help communities address, implement, and improve the status quo.


The Future of Innovation Relies on Peer Learning

Joel Carnes, President and CEO of the Alliance for Innovation, encouraged attendees to utilize TLG as a connecting point for this tribe of innovators—a place where leaders are supported in their quest to achieve efficient government operations and elevate communities across the country. The Alliance’s forthcoming Innovation Leagues is a specific part of this vision, mapped out as a network of regional bodies comprised of city leaders, universities, technology companies, and other stakeholders who all have the shared goal of helping their region reach its full potential.

The Alliance facilitates peer-learning between members who want to address a certain issue and members who have already excelled in that area. To showcase how this works, The Alliance pre-selected teams from cities to present to their peers at TLG on how they achieved certain successes. Bloomington, MN, for example, shared how to work outside of the traditional org chart to strengthen workplace cohesion. Attendees raved about the presentation, filling the conference app with photos and highlights.


Private Sector Partners Should Want to Help You, Not Just Sell You

Back in 2016, the Alliance created their Corporate Partner program with the express intent of connecting local governments directly with the latest private sector technology and innovation companies committed to push meaningful member initiatives forward. At TLG, Corporate Partners contributed to the knowledge base with Learning Labs—hour-long sessions focused on municipal education and processes improvement.

We teamed up with NIC to share three innovations to eliminate pain points in technology procurement, helping navigate a necessary process many Alliance members find particularly frustrating. In addition to new procurement strategies, the session focused on shifting away from the traditional vendor/customer dynamic that is a one-time transaction. Instead, local government leaders should seek out value-based partnerships with modern companies dedicated to relationship building. This  creates a feedback loop to continuously improve government services.

 

TLG attendees gather in Corporate Partner Alley to learn about the latest govtech innovations.


The TLG Conversation Continues Year-Round

Rounding out these pre-slated Learning Lab and peer support sessions, the Alliance also offered an additional “unConference” track where attendees got to brainstorm common areas they were keen to discuss and vote on their favorites. The top ten became dedicated breakout sessions throughout the conference. Topics spanned artificial intelligence & customer service, data dashboards & how to utilize them, infrastructure for aging populations, and project prioritization through the lens of equity.

After the conference, The Atlas, an online government marketplace and this year’s TLG Technology Partner, will enable these conversations to continue remotely— helping government leaders find best-fit technology solutions to help their communities thrive.  

The “unConference” schedule, which was determined by TLG attendees throughout the event.


Conclusion

For the “doers” in local government, The Alliance for Innovation’s Annual TLG Conference provides a safe space to build an extension of their modern tribe. Leaders connect with other leaders from cities across the country and the knowledge transfer that occurs between sessions, learning labs, and conference networking provides a strong foundation for innovation between public and private sector partners. If #TLG2019 was any indication of the progress that can happen in just two days, we can’t wait to see how the TLG Tribe evolves throughout 2019 and into next year’s conference in Phoenix, AZ.

 

Sharon Lee, Low Income Housing Institute’s (LIHI) founding Executive Director, joined the National Association for County Community and Economic Development (NACCED) and ViewPoint Cloud to speak on tiny house villages as a crisis solution to homelessness.

Watch for a history and how to guide, sharing how Seattle developed its innovative Tiny House program to quickly and affordably provide shelter to people living on the streets, and how other communities could do the same. LIHI went from one village to ten in three years, learning valuable lessons in construction, management, and key partnership formation along the way.

Read: A Government’s Guide to Tiny House Regulation

16 Ways Local Governments Use Social Media | ViewPoint Cloud

Social media has long been an integral part of daily life. We have never been so easily connected as now, and the benefits span far beyond seeing your friends’ Christmas photos and not-so-funny memes. From marketing, to journalism, to fundraising, social media has revolutionized professional industries.

For local governments, it can hold even greater prizes. Social media is part of a foundation for a new type of democracy and community participation.

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10 Free Software Tools for Local Government | ViewPoint

With rigid budgets and procurement processes, local governments sometimes have to wait years to upgrade their technology. Luckily, with a world of developers and creative ideas, there’s a whole market of free software tools at our fingertips. From designing more engaging social media posts to better intra-office communication, these easy-to-use tools can be integrated into your regular workflow without spending a dime. To help you do this, we’ve rounded up a list of 10 free tools your local government can use to start working more productively and creatively right now.

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Gloucester's Unified Storefront for Citizen Services | ViewPoint Cloud | SeeClickFix

Deploying new solutions and services to better support constituent needs remains a difficult task in government today, but strategic project management and communications can make all the difference. With the help of modern GovTech partners, leading local governments are tackling these challenges because they recognize the operational and fiscal benefits to both employees and community members.

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Marijuana Regulations Permitting and Licensing Guide | Local Government Resources - ViewPoint

Cannabis regulation remains a controversial subject across all levels of government, but there’s no denying the fact that the tides are changing in favor of legalization. The 2016 election seasonwhere a historic number of states passed ballot initiatives legalizing marijuanaseems to have been a tipping point, and the pro-legalization movement is showing no signs of slowing down.

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Permitting in the Age of AirBnB | ViewPoint Cloud Online Permitting

With the near universal presence of Airbnb, there’s no denying that short-term rentals have cemented their place in modern life. For some, hosting has become a necessary second source of income. For others, short-term rentals present a form of cultural currency for meeting new people or exploring a city. However, they also represent a modern regulatory challenge for local governments—how to regulate globalized, tech-based markets within their own jurisdictions.

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The Pain of Public Procurement Policy

This article was authored by Mariam Pallathucheril and originally published on Engaging Local Government Leader’s website.

About Mariam Pallathucheril
Mariam is a summer research fellow at CoProcure and a current MPA/MPP candidate at Columbia University (SIPA) and the Hertie School of Governance concentrating in Economic Policy and Technology. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Government from Georgetown University.

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New Technologies Driving Change in the Way Building Officials Work | ViewPoint Cloud

Technology is driving major changes in building departments, introducing a whole new way to build our world. Two technologies in particular–cloud-based platforms for storing and sharing data and building information modeling (BIM)–promise to change not only the way construction projects are designed, but also the processes of building officials responsible for approving them. As a result of changing technologies, building officials will soon need to become more tech-savvy in order to take full advantage of the benefits that these new technologies bring.

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