Iowa Ideas is a nonpartisan, statewide learning experience designed to explore the key questions and big ideas that will shape the future of Iowa. Iowa Ideas is created and produced by the Cedar Rapids Gazette.
Iowa Ideas 2017 is focused on seven key topics: Health care, K-12 education, higher education, regionalism / workforce, transportation, agriculture, and energy & environment,
Important issues in each area will be explored in a variety of ways:
- Symposiums, taking place around the state for the first half of 2017, will feature a mix of expert speakers and conversation between attendees. Learn more here.
- The Iowa Ideas Magazine, published five times throughout 2017, includes in-depth journalism on our seven topic areas. Order the latest edition of the magazine (free) here.
- Our digital newsletters, curated by Gazette reporters, feature big ideas impacting Iowa and the world, current events and perspectives. Opt in here.
- Finally, our signature event, the Iowa Ideas Conference, is a statewide gathering designed to mix panel discussions, one-on-one interviews with leaders, and thought-provoking experiences to help move complex issues forward. The conference will take place Sept. 20-22, 2017, in downtown Cedar Rapids. Conference tickets are now available for an early-bird rate of $200; volunteer and scholarship opportunities are also available. Learn more about the conference here.
Iowa Ideas is designed to be a community building experience around defining issues for our state. There are several potential outcomes – many of which will be driven by the people who participate:
- Be part of a deep and nuanced conversation, based in fact and with an emphasis on solutions
- Connect with speakers and fellow attendees who are passionate about similar issues
- Hear first-hand from newsmakers, be inspired and learn about new ideas
- Have the opportunity to keep the work and conversations going beyond the events
The issues we have identified are not unique to Eastern Iowa. These are issues relevant to our state as a whole and it’s critical we hear and engage all parts of the state when thinking about current state and ideas for the future.
Most of our symposiums will follow a similar format, but there will be variation from track to track or as current events shape the conversation.
Each symposium is three hours and will feature presentations from regional experts and time for attendees to work together and develop ideas. We're discussing two topics each day -- join one or attend both for a full-day experience.
Thanks to generous support from our sponsors, the symposiums are free community conversations. Diverse backgrounds and viewpoints are welcome to attend and contribute.
Generally, the format includes:
- Welcome from the executive editor
- Icebreaker and brainstorming activity
- Presentations from speakers
- Small group discussions
- Shared commitment to next steps
Our goal is to start with a common set of facts, hear from regional experts and people who are making a difference in the field, explore issues together and create the opportunity to keep conversations and ideas going post-symposium.
The Iowa Ideas magazine will be published five times in 2017. The dates are:
The magazine will be distributed in The Gazette and at events around Iowa - you can also order a free copy online.
Each of our tracks represents an industry that has the opportunity to shape the future of Iowa. Many of these major industries are in a state of change - and thus, ripe for exploration and discussion. From our work at The Gazette, we know these eight topics continue to impact Iowans in a variety of ways. We kept the topics broad with the intent to have many conversations within each track.
There are several more topics that we feel will be major factors in shaping Iowa’s future, that we intend to include in EACH of the eight identified tracks. These include Iowa’s changing demographics, welcoming diversity and inclusion, and the accelerating impacts of technology. So, for example, rather than segmenting diversity into it’s own separate track, we are committed to exploring it in the context of each of the other tracks.
Have an idea of something we should cover? We would love to hear it – drop a line to email@example.com.
We are looking for speakers, panelists, workshops, discussions and more, including Iowans and people from around the nation. In each of our seven tracks, we are especially looking for:
- “Doers” – people who have direct experience and are making a difference in their field
- New ideas – things that are on the cutting edge or haven’t been tried in Iowa before
- Bridge builders – people who have the subject matter expertise to see an issue from multiple angles
We are being very deliberate in our selection of speakers. In order for this to be a success, the symposium and conference experience must include engaging, relevant speakers that are doing -not pitching their products or services.
If you have an idea of someone who could be a great speaker, we would love to hear from you. Nominate them using the brief form here.
So glad you asked – more ideas here.
call: Gazette events manager Elizabeth Kimmel, 319-398-8345
Iowa Ideas Conference
The Gazette, P.O. Box 1862
Cedar Rapids IA 52406-1862