#NCBigIdea Challenge




Follow #NCBigIdea for updates, and check back here at NCBigIdea.org.



To make it easier to digest, IEI staff went through all of the submissions and identified 34 discrete ideas, listed below:

  1. Affordable Housing
  2. Asset-based Community Economic Development
  3. Big Data
  4. Bridging Rural and Urban
  5. Building Healthy Communities
  6. Building the Foundation for Lifelong Learning (Cradle to Grave)
  7. Capitalizing On and Supporting NC’s Aging Population
  8. Climate Solutions for NC
  9. Cooperative Education and the Rebirth of Vocational Education
  10. Cooperative Economies
  11. Creating a Cohesive NC
  12. Creativity/Entrepreneurship
  13. Developing the State’s Emerging Leaders
  14. Early Childhood
  15. Energy
  16. Governance in the Age of Technology/Resiliency
  17. Inclusive Economics
  18. Inequality/poverty
  19. Insurance and Pension Reform
  20. Investing in Immigrants
  21. Jobs of Tomorrow
  22. Leveraging the Future of Broadband
  23. Mental Health
  24. Next Generation Education Reform
  25. Opportunities in Agriculture
  26. Oral Health
  27. Paying for Health Care
  28. Precision Health
  29. Preserving (and Building) our Water System
  30. Regionalism
  31. Rural Education Reform
  32. Social Mobility/Economic Security
  33. Systems-Level Education Reform/Access
  34. Transportation

To view the complete list of submitted “idea titles,” click here (note that some titles have been modified for clarity). If you shared an idea, and do not see how your idea fits into those themes listed above, please email us at emergingissues@ncsu.edu.

  • IEI staff will narrow down these 34 ideas to 10, merging similar ideas and eliminating any that do not meet the #NCBigIdea challenge criteria (outlined below). We’ll post the final 10 ideas right here (www.NCBigIdea.org) the week of August 7, 2017.
  • Then, members of the IEI National Advisory Board will further narrow down the 10 ideas to five. We’ll announce those on the website in late August (have your brackets ready!).
  • IEI will then work with a small group of policy makers, board members, funders, and others to determine which of these five ideas are best positioned (timely, feasible, etc.) to be featured as an upcoming Emerging Issues Forum topic. We’re hoping to end up with three.
  • During the winter, IEI will further research these three topics. Be sure to tune into IEI’s podcast, First in Future, and subscribe to IEI’s monthly digest for more information.
  • In March 2018, the NC public will hear more about the three ideas and decide which will be featured as an upcoming Emerging Issues Forum topic (think March Madness meets the Bachelor, with one final Big Idea topic receiving the coveted rose).
  • Be sure to follow #NCBigIdea on Twitter, and check back here at www.NCBigIdea for continuous updates!

Submission Guidelines AND CRITERIA (THE FINE PRINT)

We wanted you to THINK BIG, to imagine a broad issue that North Carolinians can work on together that will improve our state economically in the long-term. We shared past topics to get your creative juices flowing, and shared the below general criteria for submitting big ideas:

1.  Generate curiosity and conversations by a broad group of people across the state

2.  Provide a platform for multiple perspectives on the topic

3.  Move participants toward agreement on actions, both locally and statewide


  • A title for your big idea, not to exceed 100 characters
  • A brief description of your big idea, not to exceed 100 words. Be sure to mention the idea’s:
    • Ability to generate middle ground
    • Relevance for multiple sectors, issues (e.g., health, education, built and natural environment, economy), and demographic groups
    • Already growing momentum or energy across the state
  • Your name, email, and phone number (in case we need to reach you)
  • Relevant links to more information from credible sources



Follow #NCBigIdea for updates, and check back here at NCBigIdea.org.

THE EVEN FINER Print (for you Policy wonks, geeks and competition junkies): CLICK HERE!


For press inquiries, please contact Nan Sanseverino at nan_sanseverino@ncsu.edu. A media kit is available for download below.

Media Kit