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City Innovators Share What Idea Generation Means to Them

Idea generation is a key component of the innovation teams (i-teams) model at Bloomberg Philanthropies. In order to address the most critical issues in their cities, i-teams seek out the advice and counsel of a number of stakeholders: residents, government officials, community leaders, innovators from other cities, and more. From there, the creativity kicks in, as i-teams branch off in numerous directions in order to develop actionable ideas and solutions.

By leveraging best-in-class idea generation techniques and a structured, data-driven approach to delivering results, Mayors have effectively used this approach with their i-teams on issues as diverse as murder reduction, economic development, and customer service.

Bloomberg Philanthropies asked i-teams directors and team members to define what idea generation means to them, and share their thoughts on how they approach this vital step in government innovation.

Minneapolis (team member Zoe Thiel): 
“Idea generation is all about drawing out what people already know, and their expertise, and finding ways to challenge and push their thinking to come up with fresh ideas to existing challenges.”


Memphis (team member Doug McGowan): Idea generation in Memphis requires “a catalyst to spark the conversation” and “fundamentally changing the conversation to include the art of the possible”


Jersey City (Brian Platt): “Idea generation means engaging with a variety of key stakeholders in the community, city employees, and other experts in the field, to actively identify solutions to the very complex and challenging and critical quality of life issues we face as a city in Jersey City.”


Visit our playlist on YouTube to hear what other i-team directors had to say on idea generation.