4 posts

Press Release – December 12th, 2019

Maricopa County Supports Smart Region Consortium

The country’s largest and most connected smart region won’t be in New York or Chicago.  It’s being built in Maricopa County, Arizona right now to improve quality of life and increase economic competitiveness.

Today the Board of Supervisors approved a resolution supporting the “Smart Region Consortium,” a public-private partnership that connects participating governments with technology-based innovations.  The effort was spearheaded, in part, by Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates, who made it one of the priorities of his chairmanship in 2019.

“This is about breaking out of an old mindset that says government problems are only solved inside of government,” said Gates.  “By building a framework for unprecedented collaboration between public, private, university, and community partners, the old limits on what we can do vanish.  Our talent pool grows; the scale of our projects expands; and the time it takes to implement efficiencies that will improve people’s lives increases significantly.”

The Consortium includes 22 cities and towns; Arizona State University; Arizona Commerce Authority; Maricopa Association of Governments; Greater Phoenix Economic Council; and industry partners including Cox, Dell, Sprint, and SRP.

The consortium builds upon a model of co-creation established by the Institute for Digital Progress where governments identify a problem, and then ask higher education students to use technologies created by industry partners to come up with potential solutions to the problem.  Governments can pilot those potential solutions.  Successful projects can be implemented and scaled through the support of the Consortium.  In the end, the goal is safer, healthier communities with better outcomes for all.

“We’re not competing with each other; we’re competing with other cities and regions in the U.S. and around the world,” said Gates.  “As the fourth-largest and fastest-growing county in the nation, collaboration is our greatest advantage because no one can out-scale us if we work together.  I’m grateful to everyone involved with making the Consortium happen and I’m excited to see the positive it can have on quality of life here in Maricopa County.” 

Press Release – November 15, 2019

The Connective launches to build the nation’s largest and most connected smart region in Greater Phoenix

PHOENIX, Ariz. (November 15, 2019) – At last night’s State of the Smart Region Gala in Phoenix, the Partnership for Economic Innovation, together with the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, Maricopa Association of Governments, Arizona State University and the Institute for Digital Progress, announced the official launch of The Connective, Greater Phoenix’s Smart Region Consortium.

Founded with support from Cox Communications, Dell Inc., Maricopa County, Salt River Project and Sprint, The Connective partners with Greater Phoenix communities and industry partners to build the nation’s largest smart region by developing and deploying technology solutions rooted in connectivity, mobility, equity and sustainability.

“Two years ago we announced the intention and vision for a smart region consortium in Greater Phoenix,” said Chris Camacho, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. “Now a reality, this consortium will elevate the region’s competitiveness and enhance the reputation of Greater Phoenix as a preeminent market where companies can test, develop and deploy technology at scale while providing our residents with a technologically advanced lifestyle opportunity.”

The Connective community members and industry partners will collaborate to take on the large-scale regional and sub-regional opportunities affecting Greater Phoenix citizens. By collaborating across sectors and communities, The Connective enables a solutions approach to problem solving that leads to the creation of implementable, interconnected, affordable, and interoperable services that enhance the quality of life for the citizens and businesses in Greater Phoenix.

“PEI was established to help transform Greater Phoenix into a top global market for innovation and technology. The Connective provides us the pathways to connect research institutes, advanced industries and high-tech entrepreneurs who have solutions to address real world problems affecting citizens and businesses in Greater Phoenix,” said John Graham, chairman of the Partnership for Economic Innovation.

This consortium is a community-driven applied research model designed to forge an intentional, unprecedented collaboration between public, private, university and community partners.

The City of Apache Junction, City of Buckeye, City of Casa Grande, City of Chandler, Town of El Mirage, Town of Fountain Hills, Town of Gilbert, City of Glendale, City of Goodyear, City of Mesa, City of Peoria, City of Phoenix, Town of Queen Creek, City of Scottsdale, City of Surprise, City of Tempe, City of Tolleson and the Town of Youngtown have committed to participate in The Connective. Additional cities are under consideration for participation.

“The Maricopa Association of Governments will support the consortium by working with member communities to identify challenges or opportunities they believe can be addressed through technology, and the industry partners will collaborate to develop proposed solutions,” said MAG Regional Council Chair and Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell. “Once the solutions have been implemented, MAG will collect and manage the data to track the success of the projects. We are excited to be part of an effort that will improve our daily lives and enhance our economic competitiveness.”

“Creating a smarter, safer, more vibrant city is at the heart of this effort. ASU is proud to partner with PEI and our neighbors to advance this initiative for our city, our region and the state,” said Cynthia Sagers, Vice President, Research at Arizona State University

For more information about The Connective, please visit

Press Release – June 26, 2018

iDP, ASU, and the City of Phoenix Launch Public Entrepreneur Development Academy

The City of Phoenix and iDP are looking to recruit a #yesphx entrepreneur to participate in a pilot program called the Public Entrepreneur Development Academy (PEDA). The core mission of PEDA is to bring together city leaders, local entrepreneurs, and industry partners to explore ways to accelerate entrepreneurship in government, and to fuel the kind of innovation in our cities that is synonymous with tech-industry startup culture. PEDA will be a first-of-its-kind accelerator in the Greater Phoenix Region that teaches government employees entrepreneurial problem-solving skillsets and how to apply them to real-world civic issues.

PEDA is a partnership between the City of Phoenix, iDP, and Arizona State University.

The program will be run over 9 weeks (two, four-hour, in person, blocks per week for the 9 weeks), with the bulk of participants being high level, high potential, officials in the City of Phoenix. Workshops and training will be conducted by industry experts, such as Cisco and Intel, as well as leading university professors. Topics to be covered over the 9 weeks include an introduction to design thinking; ideation – generation of ideas; methods of prototyping; walking through the business model canvas; developing an implementation roadmap; and participating in a pitch night.

The PEDA team will be comprised of five city leaders, one ASU student and one #yesphx entrepreneur, who will work together on a real-world problem, identified by City of Phoenix staff, with the PEDA process and the #yesphx entrepreneur helping the City go from problem identification through to implementation.  The ultimate goal is for the city leaders to learn and utilize the #yesphx entrepreneurial mindset, to help improve work processes and develop new approaches to overcoming challenges.

IDP is looking to recruit a #yesphx entrepreneur to volunteer their time to work alongside city of Phoenix employees on a critical city issue. Your support can help increase the City’s capacity to identify and analyze pain points, provide agile and iterative solutions, as well as increase interest in cross-sector collaborations.

Involvement would mean being an active member of a team, attending the workshops, contributing to the project plan and participating in the pitch night. In short, a hands-on applied project with City of Phoenix officials.

The application for the program will close on Sunday July 1, 2018.

To learn more, and to apply to participate, please visit