Innovation comes from an intentional process of experimentation and exploration. Through the Mayors Challenge, cities are invited to think big, be bold, and uncover inventive – and, ultimately, replicable – ideas that tackle the most urgent issues of the day. Innovation experts will visit each of the first 300 cities that sign up to deliver one-day city hall training workshops to accelerate idea development. After completing an initial application, a Selection Committee reviews the proposals and awards 35 Champion Cities up to $100,000 to begin testing their ideas. These cities will attend Ideas Camp, an intensive workshop with innovation experts and leading urban practitioners from Bloomberg Philanthropies’ global network. After submitting a final application, the grand prize winner will be awarded $5 million and four cities will each win $1 million to bring their ideas to life.
The 2018 Mayors Challenge builds on the success of previous Challenges in the U.S. (2013), Europe (2014), and Latin America & the Caribbean (2016). The competition encouraged city leaders to creatively address pressing local challenges, and hundreds of cities around the world proposed ideas on a range of issues – from climate change to public health to mobility. Many participating cities hosted local competitions to crowdsource ideas, conducted workshops with community stakeholders to develop partnerships, and engaged front-line municipal employees to contribute their expertise.