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Bloomberg Philanthropies and OECD Map Innovation Investments in Cities Worldwide

For the First Time, Bloomberg Philanthropies Invites Cities to Apply to Innovation Program

Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), released today at CityLab DC a new report and interactive map that demonstrates the surge of cities’ commitment to local innovation and how these investments are set to improve outcomes for residents and strengthen communities.

“It’s encouraging to see more cities not just commit to innovation, but deliver results that make a real difference in people’s lives,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies and the 108th Mayor of New York City. “Bloomberg Philanthropies is glad to help city leaders find new, more effective ways to govern – and to help spread those innovations around the world.”

The report, based on a survey of more than 80 cities worldwide, found that cities’ ability to drive innovation depends most on bold leadership, dedicated staff with the right skills, and a strong focus on data to set targets and measure outcomes. The factors driving innovation in cities include global megatrends such as climate change and workforce automation, a desire to reduce costs and drive efficiency while also improving services, social inclusion and economic growth goals to bring in new businesses and attract qualified professionals.

“City administrations have to break from tradition, and find new ways to address the challenges raised by megatrends,” said Ángel Gurría, Secretary-General of the OECD. “Innovation is necessary if we are to seize the opportunities and mitigate the risks emerging from major transformations in our economies and societies.”

The interactive map and report identify five key areas that influence a city’s ability to innovate:

  • Strategy and approaches: more than half of cities (55%) have formal innovation goals, and just under half (49%) have a formal innovation strategy.
  • Staffing and structure: Nearly 80% of cities reported leadership, both political and managerial was an important component in their ability to innovate.
  • Data use and management: Greater access and better use of data enables the creation of new solutions. Cities showed they had sufficient data in areas such as transport (64%), policing and law enforcement (57%), and land use/zoning (51%), but have less sufficient data in social welfare and inclusion (32%), blight and tourism (29%) respectively, and culture (20%) to support their innovation work.
  • Evaluation: monitoring and evaluating innovation work is an area for development across local governments, only 16% of cities with formal innovation goals conduct a comprehensive and systematic evaluation.

To help cities overcome obstacles and support scaling innovation, Bloomberg Philanthropies also announced today that for the first-time cities can apply for a nine-month innovation intensive program, in which they will learn how to adopt cutting-edge innovation techniques that engage residents in testing, adapting, and scaling creative ideas that can have lasting impact.

This new training opportunity is now open to all cities with a chief innovation officer on staff. The selected cities will choose up to a dozen staff members from across their government to work alongside the Chief Innovation Officer and be trained in this new way of problem solving by applying it to a current and critical problem facing residents.

Each selected city will receive:

  • A dedicated design coach: Each city will have a design coach who will lead in-person site visits where they help city staff apply the innovation approach to a problem through detailed instruction and project-based learning. Design coaches will augment in-person site visits with structured remote check-ins to help the city consistently advance the work.
  • Virtual classes: Remote sessions designed to build skills, internalize lessons learned, and identify how to overcome barriers to building innovation in the city.
  • Network of support: Targeted opportunities to learn from and build relationships with a global network of cities that have used innovation techniques to tackle challenges.

“Cities are laboratories of innovation that show us how creativity can make a real difference in people’s lives,” said Los Angeles Chief Innovation Officer Amanda Daflos. “Applying this approach to everything we do in local government, with the support of Bloomberg Philanthropies, has strengthened Mayor Garcetti’s mission to improve basic services, solve everyday problems, and build the L.A. of the future.”

Cities will be able to apply for the nine-month program beginning November 2019.

To learn more about the report, please visit:

To learn more about the new program, please contact us at

About Bloomberg Philanthropies:
Bloomberg Philanthropies invests in 510 cities and 129 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s giving, including his foundation and personal philanthropy as well as Bloomberg Associates, a pro bono consultancy that works in cities around the world. In 2018, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $767 million. For more information, please visit or follow us on FacebookInstagramYouTube and Twitter.

About the Organisation for Economic Co-opeation and Development
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an international organisation that works to build better policies for better lives. The organisations’ goal is to shape policies that foster prosperity, equality, opportunity and well-being for all, drawing on almost 60 years of experience and insights to better prepare the world of tomorrow. Together with governments, policy makers and citizens, the OECD works on establishing international norms and finding evidence-based solutions to a range of social, economic and environmental challenges.

The OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities helps local and national governments unleash the potential of entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises, promote inclusive and sustainable regions and cities, boost local job creation and implement sound tourism policies.