Engaging City Employees with an Entrepreneurial Mindset

by the City of Albuquerque, NM for the TLG 2019 Innovation Showcase program

Dec 19, 2018

Theme: Extensive Internal Collaboration

The City of Albuquerque successfully piloted entrepreneurial mindset curriculum teaching government workers how to think like entrepreneurs.  In early 2015, The Mayor of the City of Albuquerque convened with local economic development and community college partners to find a way for city employees to develop an entrepreneurial mindset to solve problems.

A unique employee learning and development plan was devised and 100 city employees from all levels of the organization participated in a pilot of the Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative’s Ice House Entrepreneurship Program, an experiential, problem-based learning program designed to immerse participants in real-world entrepreneurial experiences that enable them to develop entrepreneurial attitudes, behaviors, and skills.

The Ice House Program challenges government workers to think differently about their role in the organization, seeing problems as potential opportunities while seeing themselves as active contributors within their roles. City employees from front line sanitation workers to high-level leaders worked in small teams to identify and solve problems within their organization. Drawing from best practice in design thinking, participants learned how everyday entrepreneurs identify and solve problems in real-world resource-constrained circumstances using an iterative experimental approach.

Three years later, Albuquerque has expanded on the pilot to eventually touch every city employee. To date, nearly 550 city government workers have been empowered with an entrepreneurial mindset and a new attitude towards their work including several who have been promoted. There have been over 250 unique projects created by employees to solve problems within and across departments, creating innovations, efficiencies and ultimately greater customer service to the citizens of the City of Albuquerque. 

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