As Cleveland continues to rise, other cities are turning to the 216 for inspiration.

The 11th annual Meeting of the Minds summit took place at the Cleveland Global Center for Health Innovation this week, marking another notable event for the city to host.

Meeting of the Minds brought more than 400 city leaders from 25 different countries to downtown Cleveland to share stories and ideas for urban development. A wide array of speakers shared their successes and plans for improving their cities through the use of technology and innovation.

WKYC spoke with three of the speakers, all from different cities and backgrounds.

Bob Bennett, Innovation Chief for Kansas City, raved about the city of Cleveland, as well as the Meeting of the Minds.

Bennett said among the many conversations at the summit was the importance of digital equity and use of data.

"Data is the heart of any 'smart city,'" he said. "Regardless of what you intend to do, you have to understand, No. 1, what data you already have. Most cities in America today could be 'smart' if they just got control of the data they already own."

A "smart city" utilizes electronic data to manage its assets and resources.

Scott Mauvais, Microsoft's Director of Technology and Civic Innovation, is a board member for Meeting of the Minds. He said one of the summit's key purposes is to combine conversation among leaders from a larger global network, rather than separate entities.

"What Meeting of the Minds is very good at is building a global network of experts in finance, transportation, water and energy," Mauvais said. "Things are usually siloed and we're bringing them together for a conversation on how cities become smarter while at the same time meeting the needs of all their residents."

Justin Bibb, Senior Adviser at Gallup, was born and raised in Cleveland and played an important role in bringing the Meeting of the Minds summit to his hometown.

Bibb said he thinks more conversation between city leaders and the community will foster more progress and innovation for Cleveland.

"We have to think about it by leveraging citizen voice first and build smart cities from the bottom up, not the top down," he said. "...I think Cleveland has a lot of momentum. I think everyone recognizes that we've been on the rise over the last five years. I think we have a long way to go as it relates to smart cities technology."