( 180 ratings )

Using Innovation to Address Inequality in Nashville

the City of Nashville | June 30, 2014

This summary is a part of Nashville’s application to the City Accelerator, through which cities would advance urban innovations that will have a significant impact in the lives of their residents, especially low-income residents. Watch the city’s pitch video, read the summary, and rate their submission on its potential to: impact low-income people; expand innovation by the city; and, scale to other cities.

What is Nashville proposing?

The City of Nashville is committed to addressing issues of poverty and inequality. Nashville strives to deepen its capacity to innovate across city government and through community partnerships. Nashville believes  a culture of innovation would help support a strategic, collective response to poverty and achieve better results for low-income constituents.

How will it accomplish this?

As a member of the first cohort in the City Accelerator, Nashville would:

  • partner with the Nashville Entrepreneur Center to form mission-driven teams that would develop and implement solutions to “vexing issues;”
  • strengthen the Metro Data Professionals Network, which helps city staff integrate data and analyses into their everyday work; and
  • implement an initiative to improve existing programs, establish new models, strengthen partnerships, share data and support cross-departmental innovation.


( 180 ratings )


Patrick    on: Jul 30    

Nashville is such a great city, I want only the best for its citizens and government!

Alan Huffman    on: Jul 30    

Nashville is fantastic!

Suzanne    on: Jul 29    

The 3 programs cited, Ideas to Reality, CICI, and the Data Professionals Network seem to have already made an impact and Nashville appears to be on track to continue to address the issues of that city.

Katherine R.    on: Jul 29    

Our Nashville startup tech company has been able to leverage Nashville's new open data inititiative to power content in our mobile application/website. Access to this data has been incredibly powerful in terms of aggregating event and place information in the city. Nashville's dedication to increasing efficiency and collaboration in all Metro Government departments/private sector is what's making this city so innovative.

Sandy Pooler    on: Jul 22    

I liked that energy and enthusiasm and it seems Nashville has had success with entrepreneurial teams to take on "vexing issues." If successful, that approach could work well in other places. I was a bit put off by the fawning accolades for private sector innovators. That rhetoric may be appealing to some funders, but it exaggerates the innovation that occurs in the private vs. public sectors.

Carol    on: Jul 19    

Giving a high rating for the ideas. But there better be real solutions and progress or there is a long way to fall!

Maria C    on: Jul 16    

Good intention but how about increasing minimum wage, putting a ceiling to top corporate salaries and strengthen labor laws in favor of workers. I agree with investing in programs that give a lift to the underserved.

Mariah Cole    on: Jul 15    

The Innovation Center seems very cool and I'm happy to know that the Mayor has taken a considerable interest in economic inequality in the city.

ANON    on: Jul 15    

Challenging But what will you DO? Spending money to get data and talk doesn't necessarily produce results. What are you looking to accomplish?

margaret.hunt@state.co.us    on: Jul 15    

It's not clear to me what the outcomes are....

   on: Jul 14    

not sure what the innovation is here. its what we all do all the time, look for ideas and partners.

Ben    on: Jul 14    

Love the partnerships created through I2R! This is a great example of a city working together across all departments.

Greg Mickells    on: Jul 14    

Excellent examples of how city departments can collaborate to address equity issues. The programs created and especially the use of open data show promise in achieving their goals.

Donna Venardi    on: Jul 7    

I'm in favor of programs that encourages people to help solve their problems, rather than giving them hand outs with no strings attached.

Resident    on: Jul 7    

This seems like a self-serving pitch for the Nashville Entrepreneur Center and it's tie to civic programs focused on low-income people is pathetic. This is "trickle down 2.0."

Catherine S.    on: Jul 7    

Nashville is challenging the status quo and is actively creating a culture of vibrant learning and collaboration. Evidence is emerging that meaningful change has begun, especially for vulnerable populations that have been left behind in the past. InnovateNash is about adaptive change and shared leadership. Nashville is on the move!

Jose Gonzalez    on: Jul 7    

The culture of innovation permeating the entire city is electrifying. It's happening everywhere- certainly in the private sector, but also in the non-profit and public sectors. My friend Kristine LaLonde´╗┐ and many of her colleagues work hard everyday on improving the lives of all residents in the city. It's fabulous to see how a culture of innovation has been deployed and now permeates many departments within the city's government. I'm really excited about this particular proposal because it focuses on the most vulnerable residents in the city. Particularly interested in how scalable this is. Good luck!

Cathy    on: Jul 7    

45% of individuals experiencing homelessness also struggle with mental illness. Through the Ideas to Reality Program, our SOAR Team decided to embed SOAR into the Davidson County Jails, bringing needed services more directly to clients. SOAR is a path to increase access to disability benefits (SSI/SSDI) for people who are chronically homeless and have a mental illness through the Social Security Administration. Though the application process is often complicated and full of barriers for homeless individuals (i.e. the lack of a consistent address, income, telephone, transportation and medical treatment), receiving such benefits is a stepping stone to recovery as it provides our most vulnerable population with stability, housing and hope. CATHY

Rebekah    on: Jul 7    

Big Ideas to overcome big challenges! That is what the Office of Innovation is all about. During the first Ideas to Reality program, Kristine and Yiaway supported our teams and were amazing! It was, and continues to be, such an honor to work with them both. The Office of Innovation is moving ideas forward with a unique sense of both urgency and collaboration among government and non profit agencies.

Betty Johnson    on: Jul 7    

Excellent video about all that is happening in Nashville with regard to the innovation programs within Metro government. Congratulations to Mr. Mayor and his staff for being so progressive in his approach. Beyond the initiatives mentioned in the video, I think we'd be remiss in not also highlighting the work of the Nashville Workforce Network, a collective approach to workforce development and job placement with our most vulnerable populations. Over 80 organizations are represented in this outgrowth of the Poverty Initiative Workforce Develop committee from 2010. This group shares best practices, provides professional development and bench marks workforce programs and statistics to raise the level of service delivery to the unemployed adults in Nashville. This network includes employers who seek to hire the people served by the member organizations. I applaud all the members of the NWN and the work they are doing to reduce poverty through Workforce Development.

Kristen Dinger    on: Jul 7    

We applaud the use of data in driving innovation around important social issues such as poverty and public health. With limited resources, we must look to data to inform us as to what works and what does not, and we have been extremely impressed by the new initiatives that have been coming out of our city's government recently.

Lee Stewart    on: Jul 7    

I was part of the inaugural group of Ideas 2 Reality. Our idea about supporting affordable housing resulted in a line item in the Metro budget for 1/2 million dollars which will be used by the Barnes Fund for Affordable Housing to support non-profit developers. Techniques for developing a workable idea by working with people with a variety of viewpoints not only helped our idea succeed, but gave members specific skills that can be used in our work to serve vulnerable populations.

Sam Lovison    on: Jul 7    

These programs and efforts at embedding innovation by the Nashville team are testament to a rising wave of new and innovative local government solutions to cities' age old problems. Finding local solutions and pushing each member of a city government to be better and to help others be better can only lead to more effective service delivery, more comprehensive and effective social services, and innovative usage of data. Wonderful proposal!

Erika    on: Jul 6    

A comprehensive approach to true community impact occurring through innovation and collaboration!

Jack W    on: Jul 4    

This is so impressive - I hope to hear more in the future.

Angie Harris    on: Jul 3    

I am excited for the Mayor's Office and Yiawey for tackling the issues of inequality in our city through innovative solutions, collaboration and outreach. Keep up the great work, Nashville!

Evan    on: Jul 3    

Nashville truly is a city on the cutting edge. I worked with Kristine and Yiaway, and was always amazed at the new and innovative work they were doing in the community. My personal favorite is their Ideas 2 Reality program, as I watched government fully leveraging the power of its people by supporting small teams in carrying out their ideas to make Nashville more efficient and fulfilling its unmet needs. I love this example of the great work going on in Nashville because it was not only an effective program, but a prime example of people working together to achieve a common goal. This city has great things ahead!

Karen Vander Molen    on: Jul 2    

It takes vision, commitment, knowledge and heart to build a positive difference in a community - putting the EC and Metro Nashville Office of Innovation should do it! Think of how many people's lives will be transformed when innovative solutions to homelessness and poverty are implemented. I can't wait to see what they develop!

Connie Adams    on: Jul 2    

Nashville's all- inclusive problem solving techniques are ingenious. Congratulations and I look forward to hearing about continuing progress and success. What a caring community!!

Anne LaLonde    on: Jul 2    

Very impressive presentation - so important to have the ability to be flexible and innovative in developing solutions to these complex problems. Best of luck!

Colby Sledge    on: Jul 2    

So excited to see this! Nashville brings people together unlike any city I've ever seen. The leaders in this video are true visionaries and incredibly hard workers. We're going to make this happen!

Erin    on: Jul 2    

The How's Nashville program is an excellent resource for the city!

Samantha Batty    on: Jul 2    

Amazing work

Alix    on: Jul 2    

Great program. Great cause.

Jessica    on: Jul 2    

Nashville is making great strides in innovation. Creating opportunities for private, non-profit and government agencies to work together in ways they have not in the past. The city is taking ownership and responsibility to move the city forward in creative ways that solve problems as opposed to only talking about problems.

Nashvillian    on: Jul 2    

Amazing work being done by each of these people!

Patrick    on: Jul 2    

the multi-tiered approach utilizing the best of business, grassroots, and community should set this apart...don't forget to involve and utilize those who are unstably housed within the plans, as well as, looking at other cities and what is working in their unique systems...

Amanda Wood    on: Jul 2    

As we move forward in our community efforts to strengthen our data collection, integration and use we have such a need for Kristine LaLonde's Continuous Improvement for Collective Impact initiative. More specifically, we see a clear and demonstrated need for reconstructing our collection of data. As the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) Coordinator for Nashville, it is a privilege to be a part of a project intent on integrating data sources and cross referencing information in an innovative and strategic way. Homelessness is an experience that unfortunately, many of our Nashville neighbors experience. Building data bridges can facilitate new connections, new strategies, and harvest working relationships and garner new involvement. These are needed and valuable steps to improving our community collaboration. The best has yet to come! The Continuous Improvement for Collective Impact (CICI) is an integral pipeline in Nashville’s creative process. This entire effort can be scaled to other cities, expand innovation and have a lasting impact on our city's most vulnerable people. Amanda Wood

ML    on: Jul 2    

Nashville is the real deal. Having dealt with homelessness, mental illness and incarceration I can honestly say I have never experienced the sustained success in my life that I enjoy now. Although the transition was rocky for me, many, many, committed people stuck with me. Being Results orientated is what makes Nashville special and most definitely a model for the rest of the country to look at.

Kelsey Willman    on: Jul 2    

I love the commitment to creating a culture of innovation in Nashville!

Callie Pfeifer    on: Jul 2    

Great intro to effective policies and processes in our city. Please help these talented folks keep up the good work!

lauren    on: Jul 1    

Yes! I'm so proud of our city for recognizing the need for bold and innovative thinking as we grow. Old ways of development have traditionally harmed marginalized neighborhoods and populations –– so glad to live in a community committed to growth that will benefit all its citizens and a more economically just future.

Jack    on: Jul 1    

Some fantastic ideas! Could really initiate some positive changes across the community.

John L    on: Jul 1    

As a long-time Nashville resident, it is invigorating to see the lead that Metro is taking to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship in city government and the community. Nashville faces similar urban issues as that of most other cities. The Office of Innovation under Yahweh and Kristine will help our community find innovative approaches and meaningful solutions to improve people's lives.

Sarah    on: Jul 1    

Nashville's non-profits are always creating innovative new ways to serve the community through technology, education, and collaboration. Community Foundation of Middle TN and Hands On Nashville are role model organizations that empower low-income people and families.

Will    on: Jul 1    

Kristine and Yiaway's visionary work pushes me to get better each day. As a government employee, I now search for innovation and I am unafraid of taking risks to make a positive collective impact.

Ben Vos    on: Jul 1    

With thousands of homeless people in the Nashville community, it's important to collaborate and share information. This empowerment data networking model looks like an idea that is timely and ready for implementation.

Eric    on: Jul 1    

Nashville has innovated in so many areas over the last few years, and this project is just another example of the great work happening in Middle Tennessee. It's so great to see collaboration between business leaders and government leaders, that's definitely something that we need to replicate throughout the country!

Brian Williams    on: Jul 1    

As a long time nonprofit partner with Nashville Metropolitan Government, Hands On Nashville is proud to support this innovative and thoughtful approach. It makes me proud to know that our local government is interested in identifying and implementing ideas that can truly change the game for those in need.

Joyce    on: Jul 1    

Building on successful Entrepreneur Center and office of innovation in metro govt is a great way to get this done!

Lewis    on: Jul 1    

Our Entrepreneur Center is nationally known for its successful Accelerator. So it is a natural for the Metro government and nonprofit sector to innovatively combine their efforts with the EC, and use the Accelerator model to address social needs and improve the lives of all Nashvillians.

Megan Barry    on: Jul 1    

The foresight to bring government and community partners together to tackle complex problems and create innovative solutions is another reason why Nashville will continue to grow and thrive - while at the same time, leaving no one behind.

Emily    on: Jul 1    

Nashville is a city that sees what needs doing and takes ownership of that responsibility. The strengths of Nashville's pitch are its targeting the effects of inequality and its searching for solutions based on real data. By facilitating crucial conversations among mission-driven organizations, Nashville has created a culture of innovation and that can and should be replicated in other cities.

John    on: Jul 1    

Great proposal. Something that could help the people of Nashville for many years to come.

David    on: Jul 1    

Sounds like a fantastic plan!

Mike    on: Jul 1    

It's so exciting to see Nashville make fighting income inequality such a priority. As the manager of a nonprofit with a mission of job creation for disenfranchised populations, I believe each of these initiatives has potential to improve our effectiveness as the city further develops its culture of innovation. Projects like this make me proud to call Nashville home!

Albert    on: Jul 1    

This is really exciting stuff. I hope that these two keep up the good work!