City of Philadelphia Innovation Program
Re-Innovating Government: A Philadelphia Story
The City of Philadelphia's Innovation Management Office has used a similar innovation program to help create and identify new ideas that have the potential to improve services and functions of municipal government.
Some examples of their success include:
- Clean Commute: A feasibility study on how the city might be able to provide shower stations for employees who want to bike/run to work and/or exercise on their lunch break etc.
- CitySwap: A Craigslist-like website that provides a platform for Philadelphia departments to “swap” or redistribute extra or unused items, such as desk chairs.
- Better Bail: A marketing and outreach plan aimed to increase use of Philadelphia’s soon-to-be-implemented electronic bail pay system.
- Plants Make Positive Places: A program designed to redistribute plants and plant material from city parks and property to community organizations, as well as create a seed/flower “library” for city plants.
- Adopt a Play Street: A summer program that buys and distributes books to youth in underserved neighborhoods so students can keep up with their reading when they’re not in school.
- Vital Ingredient: A curriculum/after-school program that seeks to combine digital literacy skills with healthy cooking/eating.
City of Memphis Innovation Team
Stimulating Neighborhood Economic Vitality in Memphis
Memphis, like many American cities, has faced challenges associated with a significantly expanding footprint. Between 1970 and 2010, Memphis’ population grew by 4 percent, while its geographic area grew by 55 percent. Residents have moved away from neighborhoods that were formerly hubs of business and commerce, and the lack of investment in some of the city’s older core neighborhoods has led to deteriorating infrastructure and concentrations of blight that have stifled economic growth.
Mayor A.C. Wharton charged Memphis’ Innovation Team with generating neighborhood economic vitality. First, the i-team worked quickly with a range of stakeholders to understand the obstacles to generating rapid and sustainable economic growth at the neighborhood level.
The next step in the innovation delivery approach is idea generation – bringing partners through a rigorous process of identifying innovative solutions. The i-team held “co-creation workshops,” bringing together local businesses and leaders within targeted neighborhoods to share perceived barriers to progress and ideas for solutions. They leveraged outside perspectives for inspiration and advice, bringing in expert urban planners to observe neighborhoods and speak with community members.
The result? MEMShop, an initiative aimed at jump-starting new businesses by providing operational recommendations and temporary retail space for a reduced rent. And MEMFix, a project to redesign street layouts, activate vacant storefronts with pop-up businesses and change the character of designated community blocks to demonstrate economic potential.
Boston and Chicago • A More Responsive, Transparent and Participatory 311
311 services in several cities are leveraging open source data and the capabilities of mobile computing to better serve residents and increase accountability among government agencies. A 311 system that leverages the full power of the Internet and mobile computing would build on the old system to further increase the effectiveness of government services and inform decision making among agencies.
311 data and analytics have already allowed city agencies to proactively and efficiently deploy a wide variety of services and programs targeting noise abatement, disease control and pothole repair efforts, among many others. As the 311 API ecosystem matures, programmers envision apps that allow for more meaningful forms of citizen engagement, enabling residents to collaborate with one another and city agencies when planning streetscapes, parks and other neighborhood amenities
1/8 Cent Sales Tax
City of Overland Park, Kansas
After decades of expansion, the city of Overland Park was faced with the problem of bringing country roads up to the standards of city infrastructure. By levying a 1/8-cent sales tax, they created a funding pool to both repair and build new roads.
Since 1998, the program has been renewed by the citizens of Overland Park three times, and the program has been expanded to include other projects, such as street lights, traffic signals and sidewalks, as well as launching an app that lets citizens see which projects the fund has created through an interactive map.