Delivering innovation at city halls: Bloomberg puts $45 million on the table

Thu, 2014-08-28 06:00 -- SCC Staff

Bloomberg Philanthropies announced a $45 million investment to help U.S. cities use innovation to tackle urban problems. The foundation invited 80 cities to apply for its Innovation Delivery grants. Innovation Delivery is a model that uses best-in-class idea generation techniques with a structured, data-driven approach to delivering results. It has been tested and refined with city leaders in Atlanta, Chicago, Louisville, Memphis and New Orleans.

“Mayors everywhere are focused on innovation -- and, increasingly, on the tools and approaches they need to make it the norm rather than the exception in city halls,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and former mayor of New York City. “Mayors have produced clear and compelling results with Innovation Delivery Teams over the past few years -- and by significantly expanding our support for this proven model, we will be able to help more city officials develop and implement new ideas.”

Cities eligible for the program have at least 100,000 residents and mayors with at least two years left in office. Grantees will be selected in the fall and will receive from $250,000 to $1,000,000 annually over three years, as well as implementation support and peer-to-peer learning opportunities.

In a press release, the foundation summarized some of the results achieved with the Innovation Delivery model in the test cities:

  • New Orleans reduced murder in 2013 by 19% compared to the previous year, resulting in the lowest number of murders in New Orleans since 1985.
  • Memphis reduced retail vacancy rates by 30% along key commercial corridors.
  • Louisville redirected 26% of low-severity 911 medical calls to a doctor’s office or immediate care center instead of requiring an ambulance trip to the emergency room.
  • Chicago cut the licensing time for new restaurants by 33%; more than 1,000 new restaurants have opened since the team began its work.
  • Atlanta moved 1,022 chronically homeless individuals into permanent housing.

The Innovation Delivery Playbook, which details the approach and some experiences of the test cities, is available here.

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