Since its launch in August, the City of Philadelphia’s Innovation Lab has hosted brainstorming sessions, youth programing, and meetings of all sizes. Last month, the Lab also provided City employees with professional development opportunities.
Karissa Demi, a City web developer, used the Lab to offer an HTML and CSS class for City employees. The course began with basic HTML techniques such as proper use of tags and worked its way up to CSS and how to make a website “look awesome” (in Karissa’s words). The course spanned two sessions, lasting two hours each.
“Everyone, in every job, can benefit from learning these skills,” Karissa said.
Created as a test run for future internal programming, the program was offered to 12 employees in the Office of Innovation and Technology. However, based on its unique format, and feedback from participants, this course opens the door for a wide-range of professional development opportunities. Since taking the course, participants have collaborated on a project using the skills they learned.
If you haven’t heard the buzz about the Innovation Lab, the room is located on the 16th floor of the Municipal Services Building and primary functions include:
- Opening a creative technology-enabled space that energizes participants around innovative thinking and problem solving in an atmosphere never before seen in municipal government. Put simply, the space will be bright, colorful and just cool.
- Providing a location for the Academy of Municipal Innovation to hold classes, meetings, and brainstorming sessions in conjunction with our academic partners.
- Housing a formal process of ideation (facilitated by the Center of Excellence or AMI graduates) through which teams of City employees can solve old problems in new ways and then enable the implementation of those solutions.
- Facilitating projects/initiatives/events sponsored through the City of Philadelphia’s Innovation Fund (in addition to other efforts related to the Mayor’s Fund for Philadelphia and the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics).
- Providing a location for senior executives and city leaders across departments to meet around innovation, strategic planning, and other project management efforts.
- Sponsoring hackathons (collaborative tech events focused on software projects), specifically internal hackathons, and other tech-related programming for City employees with the City acting as host.
- Providing programming for the city’s youth, including but not limited to, hackathons, and other tech-related activities where neighborhood youth can be exposed to technology, work side by side and be mentored by City employees.
- Highlighting partnerships and provide a space to collaborate with the local tech community around emerging technology, mutual challenges and potential joint programming opportunities for the greater benefit of our citizens.
Follow the Innovation Lab on Twitter @PHLInnovation.