We are looking forward to new opportunities, new challenges and new conversations in 2018. With this in mind, we are making a few adjustments to the overarching focus areas of Iowa Ideas (we call them “tracks”) in 2018.
These changes are based on lessons we learned in the inaugural year of this project, the evolution of issues facing the state, and a few new collaborators we are thrilled to welcome to Iowa Ideas.
And, we will still look for the areas where these tracks intersect and overlap. We believe that this cross-disciplinary view can help uncover solutions and lead to new ideas.
Iowa Ideas will focus on these key areas in our storytelling, events and outreach in 2018:
Human & Social Services: Iowa’s nonprofits play a role in nearly every industry and every major trend in the state. This track will explore solutions to issues facing Iowa’s most vulnerable populations and innovations happening in this industry.
Future of Work and Regional Development: These two new tracks replace what was previously a combined Regionalism / Workforce track. Future of Work will focus on trends impacting Iowa’s workplaces such as culture, technological innovation and connections between employers and communities. Regional Development will cover communitywide issues such as transportation, economic development and community vitality issues.
Education: We realized many of the issues in education hold true at all levels. From kindergarten to higher education and beyond, there are questions about funding challenges, changing workforce needs and helping different student populations. So, we’re combining all of these into a single track.
Agriculture, Energy & Environment and Health Care are three tracks that remain unchanged from 2017 to 2018 — though we will explore new topics in each.
Finally, we are adding a track called Policy to discuss trending issues of the year, host Q+As with state leaders and look for ways to find common ground in highly polarized times.
We are also thrilled to bring two new collaborations — and two new focus areas — to our signature event, the Iowa Ideas conference:
Next Gen Summit will be offered as a track within the Iowa Ideas conference in 2018, in collaboration with two of Eastern Iowa’s leading young professional groups, ImpactCR and EPIC. The Next Gen Summit has happened annually since 2012 to inspire and connect young professionals. This new collaboration allows the Next Gen Summit to reach a statewide audience with a continued emphasis on individual development and the impact one can have on the future of Iowa. Summit attendees will have access to all aspects of the Iowa Ideas conference while working together on the topic of young professional opportunities.
Diversity Forum also will be offered as a part of Iowa Ideas 2018, in collaboration with the Employee Resource Group Consortium (ERGC). The Diversity Forum will enable attendees from all industries to engage in open dialogue about real issues and concerns related to diversity and inclusion throughout Iowa. Morning facilitated conversation and group work will be carried into Iowa Ideas conference tracks, giving attendees the opportunity to apply their experience to their own areas of interest. Topics related to diversity and inclusion will be offered across the tracks of Iowa Ideas, recognizing that differing points of view are worthy of being elevated in many industries. Since 2012, Diversity Forum has convened stakeholders to discuss multiple types of diversity, from race and gender to diversity of thought and background.
Give us feedback: We’d love to hear your thoughts on these new tracks, key topics within these broad focus areas, groups we should reach out to or voices we should hear. Drop us a line any time: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, we'll be writing newsletters on each of these topics to share ideas and keep in touch throughout the year. Make sure you're signed up for the tracks that interest you.