Sacramento In-Person | Streaming Online

What Makes a Great California Idea?

What Makes a Great California Idea? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian
Presented in partnership with CalMatters
Moderated by Joe Mathews, California Columnist & Democracy Editor, Zócalo Public Square

California has been Tomorrowland since long before Walt Disney opened the theme park version—and its greatest inventions have changed the world for the better. But its government often seems stuck in the past. And the Capitol’s dominant interests are more focused on maintaining their current power than investing in big, California-grown ideas—which appear to be more perilous than promising. Artificial intelligence defies regulation or control. Fighting climate change with big batteries, wind farms, and plant-based meat means mining for rare minerals, altering wild landscapes, and threatening the state’s agricultural and food processing industries. Social experiments seem equally risky: Despite their potential to alleviate long-standing inequalities, universal income and wealth-building programs, reparations, and criminal justice reforms are politically challenging and economically fraught.

Does this state still have the stomach—not to mention ambition, educated populace, and political will—to enact big ideas? And do its leaders, entrepreneurs, and everyday residents possess the ability to distinguish between good and bad ideas, and to pursue systemic changes that also mitigate harm? XPRIZE Foundation CEO Anousheh Ansari, Public Policy Institute of California president and CEO and retired Chief Justice of California Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, and founding director of Carnegie Endowment for International Peace California Center Ian Klaus visit Zócalo at the CalMatters Ideas Festival to discuss the state of new ideas in the Golden State.

Zócalo invites our in-person audience to continue the conversation with our speakers and each other at a post-event reception with complimentary small bites and beverages.

This free program will be on the opening night of the CalMatters Ideas Festival. Event registrants are not required to purchase tickets to the festival to attend this event. 

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