June 2011 Report on Vibrant Phoenix

How do we attract talent, grow talent and retain talent to diversify and create a vibrant economy?

On June 3, 2011, over 100 Arizonans gathered at the beautiful new Chandler City Hall to discuss regional collaboration to create vibrant city environments to attract and retain talent and investment.  The Open Space strategy session, designed to engage cities, businesses and communities to raise the level of thinking on how we position our region for economic success, made it possible for the participants to generate topics and focus on what they most cared about.

Following a morning of lively and meaty discussions, more than half of the participants committed to be hosts or participants in further conversations on the most exciting ideas for positioning our region for economic success.

Mayor Jay Tibshraeny of Chandler, Arizona and Mayor Georgia Lord of Goodyear, briefly opened the morning with former SunCor Development Co. President Steve Betts providing background discoveries of the Metro Phoenix DNA Project.

The remainder of the morning was led by the participants themselves – they created their own agenda by hosting discussion sessions on topics they have passion for.

The Open Space meeting was guided by Christine Whitney Sanchez, partner with Innovation Partners International, a strength-based consulting firm with international experience and credentials in leading groups and communities to new heights.  Open Space is a non-hierarchical, transparent process that makes it easy for large groups to build on each other’s ideas and self-organize for taking action on the most exciting ideas. It is a fun and dynamic way to release the wisdom of the many.

Twenty-two participants hosted the following breakout discussions:

  • Abandoning the past to enable the future
  • Dichotomy of highly educated workforce & education funding
  • Transforming University Education
  • How do we retain the creative talent that we already have?
  • What types of companies have talent we want & how do we attract them?
  • What is your city doing for me?
  • True & Terrifying Tales of Young Entrepreneurs
  • The urban forest & economic redevelopment = lush desert lifestyle
  • An environmentally & economically sustainable Arizona
  • Where has the sense of caring for each other gone in our state? How do we get it back?
  • Why are you afraid of telling the truth? Unlocking community by being authentic.
  • Why are you scared of me? Exploring relationships w/ creatives
  • Grow a culture & network of innovation
  • Creating creative gathering spaces
  • Arts & Culture
  • How do we wake the “sleeping giants”? (moms, dads, neighbors)
  • Primary Education Revitalization
  • The legislature and our image
  • Friends in “Low” places. Identifying other user partners to develop our communities
  • How do we make AZ’s natural assets (the outdoors) part of the conversation to attract talent?
  • Attracting international interest – Being globally connected
  • Bridging the gap between generation leadership

Each breakout group posted their most potent and actionable ideas.  One half of the participants were so passionate about the ideas that emerged that they listed their contact information to host another conversation and explore next steps.

The document below represents original discussion topics, hosts, action ideas, participants who committed to host the next conversation and people who have committed to participate in the next conversation.  If you are interested in joining a conversation, please contact the host listed in the chart.

Visit the next actions online here.

For other questions about the Open Space session, please contact Parrish Spisz at the City of Goodyear or Derek Neighbors of Gangplank.

To see the final report as a pdf, click here: Vibrant Phx Website Report


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