04 Sep Do Cities Need Innovation Offices?
We enjoyed this thought-provoking Article discussing the growing trend towards innovation offices in city government and whether or not these divisions are pursuing work capable of enacting long-term change.
The article asks the question: can a true culture of innovation take root if siloed within city government? Perhaps the better question to consider is one of focus. Still in their infancy, innovation offices seem to slowly be establishing their identity. While the movement is towards the development of small-scale, public-facing, tech-heavy projects (think Text My Bus), there’s certainly merit in the pursuit of less-publicized, glamor-less solutions that have the potential to create greater internal efficiencies. Of course, bigger-picture institutional change takes considerable time and resources, two things generally in short supply for most cities. And let’s face it, a new protocol for city-staff payroll is considerably less sexy then the Report a Pothole app.
While our view remains limited, notes from the road suggest that moving the needle forward inside government is, not surprisingly, a daunting task. By establishing another office to operate inside the current system are we really even innovating?
Time will tell. Good par for the course. What do you think?