The Office of Innovation and Technology is taking a strategic approach to better foster, implement and benefit from innovation in municipal governance. One key aspect of our strategy is to intentionally build the capacity for City employees, teams, and agencies to develop and successfully deploy innovative practices. To build that capacity, OIT has collaborated with Philadelphia University in the Academy for Municipal Innovation – designed to provide city employees formal training in innovation principles and support participants in applying those principles in their day-to-day work.
The goal of the Academy is to develop a network of emerging City leaders that is diverse in both departmental representation and work experience. The pilot course was held in Spring 2013, with 19 high-performing program managers participating from a range of City departments. Both the participants and their supervisors consider the course to be a valuable professional development opportunity, and many of those in the first round remained involved in the development and implementation of successful innovations in their day-to-day work and in City-wide initiatives.
Course topics included elements of Philadelphia University’s innovation curriculum adapted for municipal settings and issues. The pilot course followed Philadelphia University’s innovation framework to include:
- Integrated Design Thinking – Collaborating and problem solving across disciplinary boundaries, brainstorming methodologies, and developing/evaluating/iterating on new ideas
- Business Analytics and Operations Models – Developing business propositions and strategy
- Systems Thinking – Mapping out stakeholders and influences to address challenges as a coordinated system of interactions
- Research Methods – Using ethnography to understand human perspectives and more effectively serve community needs
- Innovation Leadership – Developing innovative teams and culture
- Applied Research – Tackling a municipal challenge through the principles of innovation
The second iteration of the Academy for Municipal Innovation was offered in Fall 2014.