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ASU’s School of Public Affairs is part of a unique partnership that blends research and innovative practice for local government management.
The School of Public Affairs and its Center for Urban Innovation collaborate with the International City/County Management Association and city managers formerly known as The Innovation Group, forming the three organizations that make up the Alliance for Innovation. With 350 local government members spread throughout the U.S. (and other countries) the Alliance is dedicated to working with local governments to promote experimentation with new approaches and evidence-based recommendations for meeting new challenges.
Research initiatives include the Enhanced Research Partnership, which will use the ICMA surveys to address emerging questions in the field and to contribute analysis on these issues. Prior projects of the Enhanced Research Partnership have included recommendations on citizen engagement practices and an assessment tool for collaborative services that recently won a Spotlight Award from the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA). Additionally, 23 members of the Alliance are contributing funds toward the Local Government Research Collaborative (LGRC), which has supported projects on “green tape,” comparative governance, and the workforce of the future, involving scholars from the University of North Carolina and George Washington University, among others.
Students also benefit. The Marvin Andrews Fellows are MPA students who work with AFI and the Center for Urban Innovation in their first year, and intern with local governments in the second year.
Two annual events bring together thought leaders in the field. Big Ideas attracts think tanks, foundations, businesses, universities, and local governments to engage in discussions on provocative issues and potential solutions. The October 2015 Big Ideas conference focused on challenges for building community trust, particularly in the wake of events in Ferguson, Baltimore, and other communities. The Transforming Local Government conferences present examples of innovative programs and projects and facilitate networking among local governments. The 2016 TLG conference will be in St. Paul, MN and will be co-located with the League of Minnesota Cities annual conference.