When 38 inches of snow buried Boston in 2011, most residents dug out their sidewalks. But no one dug out the fire hydrants so that fire trucks could find them. Today, however, Boston is prepared, courtesy of an innovative program in which citizens can "adopt" a hydrant and agree to be responsible for digging it out in a snowstorm.
That innovation was spawned via the nonprofit Code for America, but today, cities, states and even federal agencies are creating dedicated innovation offices with the goal of weaving innovation into the fabric of bureaucracy. But what do these offices do? And are they doing anything useful?