Exploring Technology, Sharing Solutions with Other Cities




I believe that local business owners and non-profit leaders would enjoy and find value in attending SXSW.

I attended my first South by Southwest (SXSW) last month. I went to Austin, Texas, to be a part of the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) Civic I/O, an annual part of SXSW that brings together mayors, creatives and entrepreneurs from across the country to explore how technology can help solve some of our cities’ biggest challenges. I was one of 27 mayors who participated in panels, discussions and exercises, diving into future trends and the impacts of emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality, and electric vehicle infrastructure on America’s cities.


One of the founders of SXSW spoke to us about how social media was a big topic at an early SXSW before it became of mainstream interest. He described how the discussions were centered on how beneficial social media could be for connecting humans, sharing information and advancing society. He compared that time to the current excitement around AI and how we must be conscious of the unintended consequences and potential dangers.


My favorite workshop was titled, “Leading with Foresight.” It was described as: “In a time of transformative technologies, environmental disruption, deepening social divides, threats to democracy, and other systemic challenges, the capacity to cast thinking forward is essential both for leaders to succeed and for communities to thrive. This session, led by experts in foresight, design and anticipatory governance, will sharpen your ability to navigate change.”

This was a great learning opportunity for me and it’s always worthwhile to spend time with other mayors to learn from their experiences and share Flagstaff’s work and accomplishments. I believe that local business owners and non-profit leaders would enjoy and find value in attending SXSW. I was only there for a few days and experienced a small portion of the exciting learning opportunities, but the ideas keep on coming. FBN

By Becky Daggett, FBN

Becky Daggett is the mayor of Flagstaff.


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