Blog

As the Innovation Team program expands, five pioneer mayors speak about i-teams successes in their cities

On Monday, December 15, we will announce the latest cities to join Bloomberg Philanthropies Innovation Teams program. The i-teams program aims to improve the capacity of City Halls to effectively design and implement new approaches that improve citizens’ lives – relying on data, open innovation, and strong project and performance management to help mayors address pressing urban challenges.

This week, the first five mayors to receive i-team grants from Bloomberg Philanthropies wrote about their experiences in an op-ed series on CNN Money. Over the past three years, these mayors have mobilized i-teams to equip municipal government not only with the capacity to strategize, but the tools, metrics, partnerships and techniques needed to bring ideas to reality and improve citizens’ quality of life.

Beginning with Memphis Mayor A C Wharton, Jr., each mayor discussed the notable progress their respective city has made in tackling a number of urban challenges, and in doing so highlighted the many diverse and adaptable initiatives undertaken by the i-teams.

Mayor Wharton showcased the neighborhood vitality and economic growth work done by the Memphis i-team, while New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu focused on programs spearheaded by his i-team to help lower New Orleans’ murder rate.

Mayor Greg Fischer of Louisville touted his i-team and city’s usage of data to track and monitor a number of issues, from pet adoptions to local business exports. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed shared how the Atlanta i-team is working to reduce the city’s homeless population and implement a new citywide 311 system.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel described how Chicago’s i-team is opening doors for small businesses to secure loans and enter the market faster and at a lower cost.

The innovative, out-of-the-box thinking brought by these teams has struck a chord in city halls, and the focus on partnership building and collaboration has led to new policies, coalitions, and initiatives once impossible to produce.

And this work will continue long after the grants end; these local leaders have seen firsthand that the ability to generate better ideas and adapt to change are essential capabilities they wouldn’t want to govern without. Each has committed to extend funding for their i-teams into the future, ensuring that innovation will thrive at City Hall.