U.S. Communities

Resources, Ideas & Awards



Tools and resources that support innovation in your community 
The City of Philadelphia's new Innovation Lab is a coworking space for city employees. (Photo by Olivia Gillison)

The space is part of the city's overall innovation plan that includes sending its employees to "Innovation Academy" and a $100,000 fund to back public-private projects.

The Mayor's Innovation Fund was inspired by the Bloomberg Philanthropies' challenge that eventually created FastFWD, the city's social enterprise accelerator, said Andrew Buss, the city's director of innovation management. Learn more about how Philly's getting innovative

Collaboration can bring fresh perspective and resources, especially for public agencies where they are looking to provide the same level of service with less resources. to public administration problems is magnified. Public agencies are beginning to see the benefit of aligning with other organizations and citizens to create innovative tools and solutions that meet the needs of their communities. 

Learn more about how the governance model of the Lakewood Plan, or Contract Cities, encourages inter-organizational networks of public and private sectors to jointly solve policy and public administration problems.

This summary from the Iowa Highway Research Board and the Iowa Department of Transportation discusses an innovative solution using railroad flatcar bridges as a low-cost alternative to replace deficient bridges in Iowa. Read the full article and study.

This guide from the Fels Institute of Government includes critical success factors for public officials and private companies working together through public-private partnerships. Governments are increasingly turning to the private sector for help and this guide is intended to help navigate the complexity of these partnerships. 

Smart Ideas for Innovative Communities

Making it easier for government agencies nationwide by sharing proven innovative solutions

The City of Houston faced many IT challenges and were looking for a solution that included computing infrastructure to support billing and bill dispute processing for Advanced Meter Infrastructure database, and to support a new water billing system. In addition they needed support for their database and document storage. Amazon AWS Cloud Computing was able to provide the solution. Learn more in this Amazon Innovation Challenge video

Forensic Logic administers a government-run program known as the Law Enforcement Analysis Portal. Capitalizing on the advent of cloud computing and robust encryption technology, the company has become the largest platform for the sharing of local crime data in the country. Check out the different ways their data is being used! And nonprofits and academic organizations working to reduce crime will receive Forensic Logic’s resources for free

Data-Smart City Solutions’ Chicago research has focused on key data-driven initiatives that can serve as models for cities across the country. Perhaps no city has been more central to the emerging field than Chicago, a national leader in predictive analytics, open data, civic engagement, and the overall use of technology to address urban issues.

Innovation Awards

Making a Difference In Your Community Can Spur Innovation and Competition for Rewards 

Georgetown University Energy Prize
A $5 Million Prize for the community that leads the way in energy efficiency

The Georgetown University Energy Prize has selected 52 communities to participate in the Quarterfinals round of the competition. These communities will be developing and refining their plans, and preparing for the competition Semifinals in 2015. View Quarterfinalists.  

Innovation in American Government Awards 
Harvard Kennedy School’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation

Prize and Award: $100,000 grant to support replication and dissemination activities in 2015. Top finalists will also receive monetary grants. The Ash Center is also offering the Roy and Lila Ash Innovations Award for Public Engagement in Government, a special Innovations Award that will recognize government-led innovations that demonstrate novel and effective approaches to increasing public engagement and participation in the governance of towns, cities, states, and the nation.

National Association of Counties Awards
NACo presents a number of awards each year to county officials, their employees and the counties themselves. NACo also recognizes members of Congress who champion county issues by awarding the Legislators of the Year. Learn More.

Achievement of Excellence in Procurement
The national program to benchmark organizational excellence in procurement. The Achievement of Excellence in Procurement is awarded annually by the National Procurement Institute.

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