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Innovation Perspectives 4 Key Challenges Facing Local Government Innovators The selection process for the City Accelerator surfaced the tensions that make it difficult to make innovation a regular practice.
The judging process roughly mimicked the process of a technology incubator: The finalists recorded five-minute video pitches that were assessed on both the potential impact of the project, as well as the sense that the city teams would be able to use the resources of the City Accelerator to move their work forward.
In fact, the six final pitches were of such consistently high quality that the question of where we felt we could add the most value became a deciding factor for us -- and even then picking three was really hard.
We would love to have brought in all six. The selection process surfaced four key tensions that our outstanding finalists, and many other cities, are struggling with in the work to make innovation course-of-business.
However, as Peter Drucker would say, leadership is not just about doing things right, but also about doing the right things. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer talks all the time about breakthrough innovation as one of the core duties of local government, right alongside day-to-day work and continuous improvement.
But cities struggle with how to organize, staff, resource and support these activities so they can happen in tandem. The cities we selected are eager to work through this challenge — both in their programs and in the way their organizations work, so that innovation is possible again and again.
However, doing this within a government bureaucracy can be really hard. Fortunately, there is prior art in the tech sector from which cities can steal. The cohort cities are looking for ways to ensure their innovation practice can function across departments and up and down chains of command.
Nashville, for example, has developed an Ideas to Reality program that trains local innovators across city departments. This issue is, in my opinion, a key frontier for the field, and will be an important focus of our work over the next 18 months. Developing and structuring innovation partnerships The cohort cities are eager to engage partners outside of government in the work of innovation.
How best to do that, however, is not at all obvious. Moreover, how to staff and resource partnerships on the city side can be daunting. The Accelerator cities are each trying to figure out how best to frame, organize and approach partnerships with outside entities in support of their work.
Much of our work over the next 18 months will be focused on these issues. Rather, they are the places where we feel we are well-positioned to provide support. Accordingly, we picked places that articulated the greatest interest in tackling these tensions with support and partnership from the City Accelerator.
All of these cities are at the forefront of municipal innovation, and we look forward to celebrating the triumphs of all six in the months ahead.
Be part of the campaign for civic innovation at the City Acceleratorpresented by Citi Foundation.Mar 04, · Here are the key passages from the Justice Department's scathing review of the Ferguson police force.
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