Hold a Forum Event: Inspire your city or town!

Local Innovation Forum EventThis page has been recently updated, and expanded.

The Local Innovation Forum™ events1 are soon to launch, including a dedicated website. These unique ‘experience events’ are designed to help your city, town or suburb profit from the economic and social returns of innovation.

These events recognize all innovation is in effect local innovation, and that there is no use waiting for outside solutions or changed circumstances. In a competitive world, cities are either progressing or falling backward, as city entities become the dominant mode of living.

In our forums, we address practical ways local communities and citizens can change their city. Features of the forums include:

  • 4-5 hrs condensed content
  • Town Hall Meeting format with break-outs
  • Real Case studies from cities just like yours
  • Clear summary of concepts
  • Concise, easy to follow language
  • New ideas that have worked in other communities
  • Professional approachable facilitators for each section
  • 2-3 active workshops so you can apply concepts
  • Clear improvement concepts for your city or town at end of event.

You may think you can’t change your city or town, but you can. 2thinknow Local Innovation Forum™ events are for cities, towns and suburbs like yours. Each event is an accessible and affordable way, to start your city down the path to change.

Who can Organize the Forum?

  • City Government
  • Mayors Office
  • Local Chamber of Commerce
  • Trade Association
  • State Government
  • Prominent Local Businesses
  • Libraries and Local Associations

What do you provide?

  1. A qualified, highly experienced presenter(s) – including our Executive Director on some events
  2. All content
  3. Promotional Material including flyers
  4. All relevant technology

What do I need to provide?

  1. A venue
  2. 2 rooms accommodation overnight (optional)
  3. A couple of on-the-day helpers
  4. Some basic guarantees

Where and when are events available?

We will cluster events in regions, so we may be able to tell you more when you request your ‘Forum Action Pack’.

What is the cost to us of organizing an event?

There are two models. In option (1) events start from AUD $5000 up-front based on size and location factors, or option (2), tickets from AUD $25 pp with no up-front cost. Exact fees vary based on location, transport and local conditions in your city or town.

All pricing is in your ‘Forum Action Pack’, faxed or mailed to you and adjusted for local conditions.

To get started, simply contact 2thinknow for an ‘Innovation Cities Forum Action Pack’

Other Frequently Asked Questions:

Will this change my city or community, and how?

We will bring global ideas that have worked elsewhere to your city. And then we will give you simple frameworks to change your city or town, in small ways to start, which will work to create local innovation.

Of course there is no ‘magic solution’ to the problems city face – but the best way to turn a city around, or improve good performance, is specific examples of similar situations other culturally-aligned cities have faced.

My city or town is a great place already, how will this help us?

We can all improve, in fact when a city is most successful is when it tends to get complacent. Think about past crucial cities of commerce that are now urban jungles, or past cultural delights that are now run-down. Decline can happen at any time.

This is especially true of cities reliant on 1 or 2 key industries or sectors – which must broaden their exposure to innovation.

A good explanation of how to create innovation cities is set out in detail in the ‘Innovation Cities Analysis Report’ for purchase online.

Can you do a forum at a suburb or area within a city?

Yes. We are piloting a suburban forum series in 2011 (updated), if you’d like to be involved let us know. The content is different, but the organizational details are very similar. In fact, for the very largest cities we will need to work with centers within centers.

How can we get an outline of the Forum content?

The full content of the standard forum, along with all operational details you’ll need to know are in the ‘Forum Action Pack’.

Aren’t good ideas on books and online?

Many are. Unfortunately, they are unfiltered to actually work. What works in a larger wealthier city in a desert or in a smaller poorer urban area, may not work in your city. Too often this is missed, and we end up with a spate of identical Ferris wheels or ticket systems. In addition, the whole media landscape that cities must compete in, is constantly changing.

All innovation must suit the local culture and work within the ability of the city or town. Culture may change, over time, with a compelling reason, but ideas are simply not interchangeable from place-to-place without interpretation. We carefully filter ideas using analytical frameworks, before presenting them to your city or town.

On the other hand, we present ideas that work – a combination of long-term and short-term ‘low hanging fruit’ – and event presenters, 2thinknow, are independent and not part of larger interest groups.

How much do you change content from event to event?

The headline outline is the same, as are the basic concepts. We include a pre-assessment of your cities strengths, and will substitute specific examples and models from our slide-deck of case studies based on our pre-assessment of factors like your cities geography, country, population or GDP per capita.

The goal is maximum impact based on segments of the economy which your community can potentially succeed in.

This is explained in the ‘Forum Action Pack’.

To get started, simply contact 2thinknow for an ‘Innovation Cities Forum Action Pack’

Are you talking about environmental issues?

Yes. But we’re not environmentalists. We will bring the ideas that suit your city, so if you need jobs, we will bring ideas for jobs. The environmental, renewable sector is a vital economic sector – but we will not be making recommendations on climate change policy or any areas of national policy. Each city has a different set of constituent stakeholders, so needs different solutions.

Our focus is on direct social and economic opportunities to maximize for your city or town, wherever you are. this can include green tech, eco-tourism, and other green economy opportunities, if appropriate to your specific community.

Can we organise a Forum as a Political Fund-Raiser?

No. All events are strictly bi-partisan, and whilst we may express views on policies that specific Government may hold, we are not part of any active campaigning by candidates. All concepts have political aspects, but as your city or town will be charged with developing the ideas you can implement locally – these ideas will be implemented by your civic and business community.

We think the best ideas are valuable, no matter where they fall on any part of the political spectrum – which is increasingly fractious and narrowly-defined. We are valuable in assisting local innovation and growing the pie – not being involved in partisan debates over pie-slices.

What makes these Forums different from other events?

Passionate presenters. Usable concepts. Interactive community experiences, and specific case studies.

We focus on local innovation that local communities and cities can implement to create change.

Instead of political single-enterprise solutions, competing for jobs from multi-nationals, we see this as a less long-term strategy than developing jobs from within. Which is not to say that big enterprise is not important, but cities and towns need to examine other options – and these may include Cultural Assets that attract visitors, as well as world-class niches, and other solutions.

Where will your organize these events?

Primarily Australia, New Zealand, Canada, United States of America, United Kingdom, most of European Union and Europe (and to a lesser extent, East Europe). Bear in mind, all events are organized and delivered in English.Translation is the hosts responsibility.

Other cities we may consider, but would prefer an approach to do a cluster of cities – say by a national or state government, who would organize any Visas and also translators. There are also local laws to consider, once again the importance of national or state invitations outside these zones. To justify a cluster in Russia or Japan for example, may need a minimum of 7-10 meetings, and on a set price basis organized by the government of the country, or equivalent body.

In all cases, these Forum events only work in a cluster – so we will promote them in specific regions at specific times. Logistically, we cannot do one event in Alabama, and then another in Los Angeles followed by Torino in Italy!

However, anyone can order a workshop or a speaking engagement in their city, in most cities in the world, at normal prices.

What happens to cities that don’t innovate?

Few people understand how truly globally inter-connected we are, and how much your city or town is competing with similar cities and towns globally. Fewer jobs or less business, mean you are losing the competition. Towns or cities that were dependent on a single enterprise and that lost that enterprise now realise the weakness of their position.

Innovation Cities™ and smaller Nodes – such as towns – aim to be well-rounded economic and social entities, and maximise their available resources. So that in a more competitive world, they are not tomorrow’s digital or social rust belt.

At the same time, merely a digital industry (a copycat approach) is not the simple answer, yet many proposed solutions are copy-cat, and provide no competitive or comparative advantage. Cities we work with, understand this.

What is the minimum and maximum number of attendees?

There is now a minimum, and related considerations explained in the Questions section of the ‘Forum Action Pack’ and soon the Local Innovation Forum™ event website launching soon.

There is also no maximum, however, we may have to approach the event differently, and there is a question on the fax back form in the ‘Forum Action Pack’.

Who is conducting these events?

The events are conducted by 2thinknow, innovation analysts, publishers and founders of the Innovation Cities™ Program and Index.

How do these events affect Innovation Cities™ Index city rankings?

There is no effect on a cities score. With the internet, information on most cities is omnipresent. However, visiting your city allows us to update aspects of your cities scores in City Benchmarking Data™. As the scoring tends to be conservative, this also allows you to make the case for areas where you feel your city may be improving, and you can support with evidence.

Visits especially assist with more accurately measuring Cultural Assets against our benchmarking criteria. And if your city has not been scored, a visit improves your chances of being in the next Index.

How do these events help further the Innovation Cities program?

We are independent of government, and our Innovation Cities™ Program is funded solely by speeches, events, report and data sales.

I represent a local or national business person and we’d like to sponsor these events?

All events are open to sponsorship. Request the ‘Forum Action Pack’. There are some exceptions of sponsorship, and we will avoid controversial or political sponsorships. Cities can also arrange sponsorship, but in all cases, 2thinknow must agree in writing to any sponsors.

I represent a airline, hotel, banking or other corporation. We’d like to examine a package of sponsorship.

Reaching globally with Innovation Cities™ into local cities worldwide is a valuable opportunity. We are putting together a general sponsors toolkit, but we’d like to partner with you to develop a marketing package that suits. There are strict guidelines on corporations we will work with. More on sponsorship here.

Can I change the content?

The public forum events are adapted by the speaker/workshop facilitator to suit the audience. We’re happy for you to raise any potential issues ahead of time – that have local significance – or different

What sort of guarantees or paperwork will I need?

You will need to guarantee a minimum of ticket sales (if applicable), and provide insurance for your venue (if applicable). There is a short, basic, agreement between us that is straightforward.

You’ll also need to hold any applicable permits or insurances to hold an event in your venue.

How do I go ahead right now?

Request an ‘Forum Action Pack’, read it and fax back the form. It’s that simple.

Who provides the local marketing material?

We do in template form, which you are free to adapt. Depending on your city we may provide a mix of electronic and print materials, and many are in standard paper sizes, so you can run-off more. We also have banner adverts.

Are you selling anything?

No. We are not selling property development nor infrastructure or spruiking a Government program. If there is a sponsor in your city these will be clearly indicated, however 2thinknow is independent – funded by events, reports, data and advisory.

We do provide custom analysis reports on specific indicators your city or town can improve, as well as city government workshops and City benchmarking data on cities – indeed anything you ask from us. Most of that is listed on this website.

However, we’d be happy just to come to your city and town and offer a Forum event, and our capacity to provide other services is limited by quality in any given year to selected cities and towns.

I would like to organize a different event, workshop or seminar, but for our city, do you do that?

Yes, we have a conference speech offering from our Executive Director. And in addition, a series of workshop offerings are available, and promotional materials for those are in development. These differ as they are aimed specifically at City Government or Civic Leaders, and have different action items, and more focus on rapid policy development.

However, an Local Innovation Forum event is a good place to start.

I would like your Executive Director to speak at our Conference, how do I organise that?

Yes. See speaking details for Christopher Hire for more information.

We don’t have the funds to pay a fee, do you do these forums for pro-bono?

There is a fund-raising option in the ‘Forum Action Pack’ – this is a shared-cost model which may suit you. You still have some obligations, but this is shared, and may help some cities host an event – as well as assisting local events.

Can anyone in a city organize these events?

We prefer to work with City Government, Chambers of Commerce, Development Authorities, Innovation Agencies and others. At 2thinknow, our independence is important to us. We will consider requests from leading business and private citizens such as booksellers, or local groups – on a bi-partisan basis only.

We will, however, always work with the the Mayor’s Office – which is critical to any city. The same applies to elected officials at the state level, responsible for a series of cities. Or the Cities Unit of Federal Government, in some cases.

In general, we avoid specific single issue groups or political organizers.

To get started, simply contact 2thinknow for an ‘Innovation Cities Forum Action Pack’

1. Previously called Innovation Cities™ Forums and Regional Innovation Cities™ Forums.