City governments have been following news on innovation, user experience (UX), and big data. The results are so promising that many cities have begun to test out these topics within city government.

What does this look like:
Open Data Initiative. IT departments and Clerk’s offices are collaborating on making city information available to the public in more effective ways. Chicago has a data portal with data ranging from trash pickup to street lights and parking spots; their city initiatives drive startups to build apps and technologies to make that data available, accessible and usable to citizens.

Ex. 1: Mapping buildings in cities to drive development.

Centers for Innovation. New departments are defined to help spark innovation in the city or within city government.

Ex. 2. Long Beach. Long Beach developed an internal department to tackle big projects. They are currently looking at entrepreneurship and how to support business development in Long Beach. They want to be able to control gentrification and sub-urbanization from LA to support the Long Beach citizen that’s already in the city. The department is making recommendations for city regulations and infrastructure supporting mechanisms—laws, incubators, initiatives, etc.

Ex. 3. LA. LA is taking a different tack. Their Innovation Dept is acting like a platform for innovation. They supply city data to fuel hack-athons with the local design and startup communities. Their goal is to develop startups using city data.

Website Projects. Cities are working with Code for America to redefine how they run their projects. From procurement up they challenge cities to redefine what it means to develop a major project with the goal of retraining staff and cities to understand and be comfortable with new methods and processes.
Ex. 4. San Diego. San Diego worked with Code for America to define what it meant to redevelop the website. The project goals were to use local businesses as much as possible. They changed the procurement process; the project management process and the timeframe for the project. In what would normally take 2-3 years, San Diego has accomplished in 1 for a fraction of the traditional price. The new website is set to launch in early 2016.