Reno - What a cool town. At 4,500 feet above sea level, the air may be thin, but the town feels thick with opportunity. A river runs through it. Casinos loom around it. Snowy peaks tower above it. The streets are clean. Uber and Lyft drivers abound to offer affordable transportation. The river sounds nice whisking by my open hotel window (the Renaissance Downtown is a great hotel). I like the lights beneath the bridges that light up the river even at midnight, creating a constant living art piece that does not disappear with the sun. That was innovative.
The theme of this year’s ICMA West Coast Regional Conference in Reno was innovation. City managers were studying and contemplating how to bring innovation to their cities to increase efficiency, inform policy or create “cool” towns in their communities. City managers don’t take this stuff lightly. They know innovation helps them compete to be exciting and attractive for residential and business investment. Many city managers view innovation as a cornerstone of successfully evolving local government and remaining fiscally viable. They are right.
One of my favorite strengths of local government is that each city can learn from others. These conferences are engines for policy and civic innovation, and through executive leaders absorbing ideas and bringing them back to their councils and staff to contemplate and implement, we can see the innovation happen. Are you pushing innovation?