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City Accelerator Guide for Embedding Breakthrough Innovation in Local Government

Across the U.S., local governments are striving to break through obsolete ways of working.  “Innovation” is no longer a buzz word around city halls.  It is a movement toward more data-driven decision-making informed by meaningful engagement with residents and stakeholders to make a tangible difference in people’s lives.  Creating a culture of innovation – a set of norms that guide and sustain innovation – is what distinguishes a great organization from an average one.  In local government it is indeed possible to establish a culture that encourages risk-taking and builds employees’ capacity to make big leaps forward in how they deliver services, develop policy, and ultimately govern.  The City Accelerator’s inaugural cohort of three cities, Louisville, Nashville, and Philadelphia, proved that local government can be a force for positive social change with results that improve the lives of low-income residents.  Led by Nigel Jacob, the founder and co-chair for the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics in Boston, the Embedding a Culture of Innovation cohort tested new approaches, discarded what didn’t work and scaled what did.