Mayors make their way into office by inspiring the public to believe that a brighter future is in store. Every mayor wants to be a "visionary leader," but they don't just wake up one morning with a vision. To craft an original and feasible vision for a city -- one that holds the promise of effective, efficient government that builds a city and inspires its populace -- public officials need help.
For this reason, one of the first things that I did when I became mayor of Indianapolis was to spend a day with downtown economic development experts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology working on the vision for Indy. Much of that vision had been set by my predecessor, Bill Hudnut, early in his the first of his four terms as mayor, and also with the help of MIT. His vision to make Indianapolis the nation's capital for amateur sports did not form by chance, and was eventually thought to be one of the most transformative in the country. Recently, I asked Hudnut how he came up with the extraordinary ideas he brought to the city, and I was struck by his response.