12:46pm

Thu September 15, 2011
The Commonwealth

Idea Fest becomes Center of LOU Government

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and his staff are relocating their offices to the IdeaFestival next week to help promote the annual event and encourage innovative thinking. Founded in 2000, the three-day festival is setup to bring people from around the world to the city with diverse backgrounds, knowledge and perspectives on various cutting-edge ideas. The topics range from cooking to government to technology, and has been one of the more popular local events over the past decade.

Fischer is encouraging all citizens to attend and participate in an effort to encourage “out-of-the-box thinking” and says the temporary move will help inspire new ideas in his administration.

“The IdeaFestival embodies the very type of innovation that should become the default culture in Louisville,” Fischer said in a news release. “Moving our offices gets city leaders out of their everyday routine to be surrounded with other creative, innovative thinkers from across the globe.”

The mayor and staff will be working out of the lobby of the Kentucky Center starting next Thursday in a specially-designed “IdeaHub” that will also include space for other local companies and organizations, including the University of Louisville, Humana, Inc. and GlowTouch Technologies.

Fischer’s new innovation director will be holding chat and information-sharing sessions during the festival to help generate ideas about how the session could be used to improve Metro Government.

Asked if the move could complicate any city services that the mayor’s office provides, Fischer spokesman Chris Poynter says the administration doesn’t anticipate any problems.

“We’ll still have staff at the physical mayor’s office at Metro Hall. People will still be there staffing , but the mayor and all of his senior leadership team will be just one block north at the Kentucky Center,” he says. “We don’t expect any complicating factors. You know these days we have labtops and smartphones, so an office can be anywhere.”

This year’s festival features Aneesh Chopra, the Chief Technology Officer for the United States to the famed Dog Whisperer Cesar Milan. Other speakers include Sam Graham-Felsen, who served as the global new media strategist for President Obama.