For six months, we have written about the City Accelerator and its purpose, and provided information about the first cities to enter the program to work on making innovative ideas real for the benefit of their low-income residents.  The cities have been consumed by the hard work of figuring out intractable problems and the backers have been equally occupied with making this new initiative -- the Accelerator itself -- work as planned in changing the course of business for the participating cities.

There is nothing magical about the six-month milestone, but it marked a chance to hear from, and not just about, the people who are making the Accelerator experience real. The context was the concluding panel of a Summit on Government Performance and Innovation in Louisville, co-hosted by Governing and the host city’s mayor, Greg Fischer.

As the moderator, I made the audacious request that participants capture their experience in 140 characters. That's right -- six months of work condensed in a single tweet. Not only did they rise to the challenge, their brevity reduced complex ideas into an irreducible form. Moreover, they did it with playful grace and humor, which are intangible but essential bits of the innovation puzzle in their own right.

I began by asking a group of producers -- the advisors, funders, consultants and academics who support the Accelerator -- to tweet a response to this central question: “When governments are trying to promote innovation, what is the most significant factor that gets your attention?” Below are their responses:

Ben Hecht – President of Living Cities