A look back at our 2024 Convening

 The 2024 Convening Report is now available

In March of this year, nearly 70 leaders from 40 data-driven policy organizations gathered in Tempe, Arizona for the second annual States for the Future In-Person Convening. This convening was an opportunity for learning, collaboration and sharing of resources among nonpartisan, non profit organizations that are leading with data and research to drive state policy conversations.

Over the course of three days, participating organizations engaged in interactive discussions, heard from experts in plenary and breakout settings, and connected with like-minded colleagues from other states during networking events and meals. Attendees and speakers included organizations working at the state-level to advance data-driven policy in their states, national advocacy groups, philanthropic leaders, university researchers, and representatives from business and economic development entities. 

For those that were not able to join us in person, our 2024 Convening Report provides an overview of the event and attendees, a summary of what is next for the States for the Future network, as well as key takeaways and materials from over a dozen plenary and breakout sessions. 

We intend for this report to serve as a resource for organizations that are looking for practical strategies for developing policy solutions, building coalitions, and implementing data-driven policy in their states. 

If you have questions about any of our sessions, please reach out at info@statesforthefuture.org
To stay up to date and get involved,  join our mailing list, follow us on LinkedIn, or register to attend one of our Monthly Virtual Discussions.

Planning an Organization-to-Organization Knowledge Sharing Session

We don’t know what we don’t know 

When we’re heads down in the day-to-day work of our own organizations, it can be easy to lose sight of new ways of thinking or different approaches to solving similar problems. One of the greatest benefits of participating in a Network is to learn through collaboration and knowledge sharing with other organizations that have similar missions. 

Leveraging cross-state collaboration to drive collective change

Collaboration among organizations working in different states and contexts can be a powerful force toward developing solutions at a national level, and can also help us advance our own local efforts. Systemic challenges are not bound by state borders, and they demand solutions that are enriched by a diversity of viewpoints and experiences. By collectively pooling expertise and ideas, we can craft strategies to better address systemic challenges. Through cross-state collaboration and knowledge sharing, organizations can tap into a broader range of insights and solutions, build connections, and learn from each other’s journeys to drive collective change.

What do you want to know right now that will help you do your job better?

Have you ever asked questions like:

  • I really like the report that organization just released. I wonder what it took to produce it?
  • What’s the secret behind organization X’s success?
  • We share a lot in common with that organization. I wonder if we could partner together on an upcoming research effort.?
  • How can I improve my nonprofit’s operations, funding, and governance?

However broad or specific your questions are,others are thinking the same thing.

Enter Shop Talk: organization-to-organization knowledge sharing sessions for organizational acceleration

Organization-to-organization (org-to-org) knowledge sharing sessions (org-to-org) facilitate candid discussions driven by curiosity. They nurture a culture of learning, collaboration, and empathy with one another, with the aim to develop solutions that lead to better outcomes for individual states, and ultimately, our nation as a whole.

Unleashing success through collaboration

Collaboration and knowledge sharing fuel innovation in every organization. Below are real stories attesting to the power of collaboration. 

Organizations involved in States for the Future have been collaborating and learning from one another formally and informally from the start. Whether it’s two organizations coming together for a virtual summit to share about their respective work, or a group of individuals from many organizations gathering to discuss a specific topic, opportunities for cross-pollination and collective innovation is one way States for the Future creates value.

Texas 2036 learned of the important work that Center for the Future of Arizona (CFA) has led in collaboration with Gallup on the Arizona We Want poll. CFA was similarly curious about how Texas 2036 developed its legislative agenda and strategic plan and policy priorities.. A knowledge sharing session ensued with key functional leads from the communications, data, strategy, and programming arms of both organizations participating. 

“We regularly conduct public opinion polling of Texas voters to understand their priorities and concerns. The Center for the Future of Arizona “The Arizona We Want” project captured our attention given the significant scale, scope, and depth of their efforts to understand their fellow residents values, attitudes, and expectations. We were also impressed by how they used the results to identify and champion areas of consensus. . Seeing what CFA achieved was eye-opening, and spurred our thinking on ways to approach our own activities with fresh perspectives.”

Justin Coppedge, Texas 2036, Texas state

Other organizations that are part of States for the Future had one-on-one meetings to learn more about one another’s data products, indicator frameworks, and operations.

“We have leveraged so much from the January meeting – our conversations with the teams from Colorado and Arizona have been incredibly impactful. It’s valuable having leaders across states talk about the value of the Network and it lends credibility to our work by being a part of this Network.” 

Erika Borg, AWB Institute, Washington state

Ready for meaningful conversation?

Explore our step-by-step guide to set up your own org-to-org knowledge sharing session. Don’t know how to begin? There are plenty of fish in the sea, and we can help to get you started! If you have questions, would like to get connected to others on a particular topic, or would like to have an initial conversation with us, reach out to us at info@statesforthefuture.org

Together, let’s leverage the power of collaboration and knowledge sharing to be force multipliers for our individual work and build a more sustainable future across the nation.

How we came to be

In January 2023, a group of like-minded organizations and thinkers from across the nation gathered in Dallas, Texas to explore the creation of a multi-state network that would collaborate to advance the use of data and research to inform state policy. The goal of the convening was to build shared knowledge of efforts already underway in the participating states and to conceptualize how a network might contribute value to individual and collective work.

In March 2023, a volunteer working group launched with the purpose of developing the operating model and governance structure for what would become States for the Future. This working group was composed of attendees from the January convening and collaborated monthly to design and develop a shared vision for the Network’s values and activities. 

Starting the Fall of 2023, States for the Future continues this journey, inviting organizations from across the nation to gather, learn from one another, and collectively build our capacity to use data and research to drive state policy. 

We strive to be a community garage that collectively crafts solutions

We envision States for the Future as a “Community Garage” for data-driven policy, where members with varying levels of experience, capacity, and interest come together around their common goals and have a shared space for learning, collaboration, and resource sharing. 

  • Learning: Offer virtual and in-person learning opportunities like an annual convening, webinars, and discussion series to learn from one another and other experts.
  • Collaboration: Foster a network of organizations to work together to strengthen each other’s efforts by sharing information, resources, and expertise. Through collaboration, our network is a force multiplier for our work in our individual states.
  • Resource Sharing: Develop and contribute to our shared resources and tools to empower members in their respective domains. Members can leverage the Network’s Data Platform to explore and visualize indicators across states and policy areas.

Empowering states for a resilient future: uniting data, research, and action

As labs of democracy, states are leading the way in creating policies that impact the lives of their citizens and respond to a rapidly changing world. States for the Future believes that by using trusted data and research to inform policymaking, our individual states can develop solutions that lead to better outcomes for our residents, and ultimately our nation as a whole. By working together, we aim to learn from one another, build on each other’s work, and drive greater demand for evidence-based policymaking. Together, we leverage the power of data and research in policy-making to create sustainable futures.

Join us on our journey

We invite you to explore our website and data platform and keep an eye out for monthly opportunities to gather virtually and hear from one another. States for the Future is also planning an in-person convening in early 2024 with details to be released soon.

Have questions or want to get involved? Contact us at info@statesforthefuture.org