Innovation Showcase Sessions

The 2019 Transforming Local Government Conference will take place April 9 -12 in Reno, Nevada. Pre-Conference online registration is now closed. However, you may still purchase registrations on-site in Reno starting April 9 at 12:30 PM for the full conference, individual conference days, or for available tours/festivals. Please contact us with any questions!

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Adams County, CO City of Hillsboro, OR Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, NV
City of Albuquerque, NM Manatee County, FL Sacramento Area Council of Governments
City of Austin, TX Morrison County, MN City of Salisbury, NC
City of Bloomington, MN City of Novi, MI City of San Antonio, TX
Town of Chapel Hill, NC Park District of Oak Park, IL City of Scottsdale, AZ
Town of Chapel Hill, NC City of Palo Alto, CA City of St. Louis Park, MN 
City of Decatur, GA City of Phoenix, AZ City of Tempe, AZ
City and County of Durham, NC City of Raleigh, NC Washoe County, NV
City of Fort Worth, TX City of Rancho Cordova, CA Washoe County, NV

Full Descriptions:

How closely are we all listening?
Adams County, CO
Population: 503,167

Is our finger squarely on the pulse of the organization? Are we being responsive to our workforce? The truth is, our employees are telling us something even when they aren't speaking - did you hear it? 

We will show you how the Adams County Colorado People and Culture service area has embraced people analytics and why you should too. Participants will be engaged through an interactive discussion that is easy to understand, fun, and relatable. Through live surveying, humorous exchanges, and all-too-real case studies, you will begin to realize the potential of leveraging objective data to better inform and empower your position as a leader. This isn't about historical HR metrics and conducting counts. Rather, we are predicting employee behaviors and pinpointing what really drives engagement. We will introduce simple (not simplistic) methods to unlock the mysteries of our most valuable resources - our people. 

Learning objectives:

  • Understand why people analytics are important. 
  • Recognize what source data is needed in order to start a workforce analytics initiative.
  • Gain comfort and confidence to pursue people analyses. 
  • Learn how objective people data can compliment experience and expertise.

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See how the City of Albuquerque is engaging employees to solve problems like entrepreneurs!
City of Albuquerque, NM
Population: 560,000
Gallup reports that 70% of government workers are not engaged in their work leading to a loss in productivity and costing taxpayers billions every year. Government agencies are consistently being asked to “do more with less,” requiring methodologies to innovate and modify existing practices and policies to create value for their constituents. Come learn how the City of Albuquerque is engaging front-line employees in solving problems and improving performance while transforming the corporate culture of city government with an entrepreneurial Mindset!
Learning Objectives:
  • How the City of Albuquerque is developing entrepreneurial attitudes, behaviors, and skills with employees
  • How employees are being empowered to take responsibility for solving problems at the front line of their work
  • How city employees are transforming the corporate culture of the city workforce
  • How city employees are leveraging current resources to create innovative solutions and improved efficiencies.
  • How to implement the Ice House Entrepreneurial Mindset Program at your city to engage your workforce
Getting Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable, Courageously Addressing Racism in Local Government
City of Austin, TX
Population: 947890
Government creates the policies that help determine the quality of life outcomes of your City. How aware are you of the role historic institutional racism has played in feeding inequitable outcomes? The City of Austin Equity Office is organizing to address these outcomes. Hear about their approach and use of a Tool in this session.
Learning Objectives:
  • How local government can play a role to advance racial equity
  • What does racial equity mean
  • How local governments begin racial equity work
Beyond the Org Chart: Mapping the Ties that Bind in the Workplace
City of Bloomington, MN
Population: 85,866
Do you really know how work gets done in your organization? You won’t find the answer in your org chart. Discover how one city went beyond the typical employee survey to map out where staff were building relationships – and gained new insight into how work is conducted in the workplace.
Learning Objectives:
  • Provide understanding about the role of social networks in organizations.
  • Find out how social networks differ from formal structures in workplaces.
  • Introduce the organizational network analysis tool and how it can map out and depict informal networks.
  • Gain insight into the use of organizational network analyses to uncover opportunities to improve communication, cohesiveness and trust.

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Opening Our Future: Using Human Centered Design to create Chapel Hill's Civil Rights Community History Project
Town of Chapel Hill, NC
Population: 59,246
After listening to and learning from the community about its needs and interests, the Town of Chapel Hill and its governing Town Council deployed Chapel Hill Public Library staff to collaborate with history makers, community members, and historians to document and commemorate Chapel Hill’s Civil Rights Movement in an inclusive, community-driven public history initiative.
Learning Objectives:
  • Be able to explain the principles of human centered design
  • Learn how design thinking drives authentic relationship building and dynamic community engagement
  • Gain understanding about the powerful connection collaborative, community-driven local history has on the present and in planning for the future

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Living the Dream:  Innovation and Leadership in Chapel Hill
Town of Chapel Hill, NC
Population: 59,246
Having trouble finding the perfect new Fire Chief? Try what Chapel Hill did: create a leadership program for librarians (…and for fire officers, and budget analysts, and everyone).  After switching gears from “succession planning” to leadership development, the Town of Chapel Hill has filled it’s benches with innovative and collaborative leaders who are taking on new roles throughout the organization.  In addition to sharing our fun and foibles along the way, presenters will share the cost justification and evaluation about this critical investment in the future of Chapel Hill.
Learning Objectives:
  • Be inspired to do something differently.
  • Celebrate the talent of staff at all levels and learn how enable them to lead from where they are.
  • Build your business case for investing in future leaders!

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Eating Lunch with ‘THOSE’ Kids: How Decatur Fire Rescue Expanded their Community Engagement Efforts Beyond Fighting Fires
City of Decatur, GA
Population: 23,000
Eating lunch with kids at the local elementary school, educating the community on human trafficking, morning runs with residents, game nights with local teenagers. These are a few examples of ways that the Decatur Fire Rescue embrace the organizations overall commitment to strong community engagement. Just like any other fire department, the Decatur Fire department provides fire protection services, promotes fire prevention and enforces the city’s fire codes. But this department’s scope goes well beyond that. Learn how the Decatur Fire department moved beyond silos and took community engagement with a fire department to another level.
Learning Objectives:
  • How to engage your community in fire prevention and education initiatives
  • How to market departmental programs in a creative way
  • Share ideas on how to get fire personnel engaged with the community during non-emergency opportunities
  • How to break free of the firefighting silo

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Turning Your Community Into a Living Lab
City and County of Durham, NC
Population: 301,520
Learn to take advantage of the resources in your own backyard to test innovative ideas and support local businesses and entrepreneurs. The City and County of Durham, North Carolina have set up a partnership program called Innovate Durham that allows startups and staff to collaboratively test new technology. In two years the program has exposed staff to new ideas like virtual reality or internet of things devices at no cost.
Learning objectives:
  • Learn how to set up a public-private partnership program
  • How a program like this can encourage collaboration in your organization
  • Using pilot projects to encourage new ideas and think outside the box of traditional service delivery

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A Customer Experience Journey
City of Fort Worth, TX
Population: 854113
It can be difficult for employees to put themselves into the shoes of those that they serve and work with. In order to emphasize the importance of understanding the customer’s perspective, the City of Fort Worth has developed interactive “Choose your own adventure” scenarios that are designed to separate employees from their ingrained organizational perspectives and biases so that they can better understand what a process feels like from the customer’s point of view. These activities provide a real world context that general ‘customer service’ trainings oftentimes ignore. Join us on this customer experience journey – one that you can take back to your city!
Learning Objectives:
  • Explore a new way to engage employees to actively “think like a customer”
  • Walk through a sample activity and experience a city process from an outside perspective
  • Bring home ideas about how to design customer experience adventures for your own city

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Zombies, Sticky notes, and Sour Patch Kids: One city’s quest to serve with excellence
City of Hillsboro, OR
Population: 100,000
In 2013, the City launched an improvement program we call Eureka! This effort saves time and money and supports high quality service, while making employees and citizens proud of their City. Beginning in 2017, we expanded those efforts in an unusual way. The City Manager had an amazing idea to focus a Eureka! team exclusively on a larger issue for 30 days, sort of like an escape room on steroids, to benefit the community, the organization, and employees.
Learning objectives:
  • The value of using an “escape room” approach to bring a sharp focus to an issue that can benefit your community directly or even indirectly through improved service.
  • Discover how creating an experience like this can benefit your team members and have a positive effect on their level of engagement.
  • Be inspired to try this unusual approach and make progress on issues that span the organization using short-term innovation teams.

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Manatee County’s Game of Drones
Manatee County, FL
Population: 385,571

This interactive session will be filled with exciting drone videos, game(s), a demonstration, and hands-on drone flights participation…and all in a “kingdom-type” setting.

Manatee County has spent the past couple of years researching and implementing an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) - Drone program.  It is important to first identify key personnel from across local government who will benefit from the use of drones.  Once established, this group assists with drafting policy/procedures and decides on best practices to have a successful program.  You are sure to be entertained by the Mother of Drones and Princess M!

Learning objectives:
  • Steps for implementing a Procedure/Policy and training staff
  • Identify needs across the County that would benefit from having a drone program
  • Going through the RFP process to hire consulting firms for large projects

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Back to the Future: Local Government and the Sharing Economy Movement
Morrison County, MN
Population: 162,000
Think VRBO, Uber, Amazon, HelloFresh – all of these are drivers in the “Sharing Economy.” How does local government fit in to this picture? Hear from a team of Central Minnesota Counties on how they are collaborating to bring the sharing economy to their local governments through innovative systems approaches in their health & human services departments.
Learning Objectives:
  • Key Ingredients to Sharing Services in Local Government
  • How-To on Establishing Shared Services
  • Examples of Sharing Economies in Central Minnesota, primarily Regional Childcare Licensing

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Look out Barbie, here comes BRAD! A dolled-up approach to construction communication
City of Novi, MI
Population: 60,000
In 2016, the City of Novi increased neighborhood road construction funding by $2.5 million, nearly doubling allocations for improvements to these roads. The 2017 construction season saw stumbling blocks for Public Works with an increased number of contacts, many of which reached the City Council level. Working with Community Relations, all construction communication transitioned to communications staff who not only enhanced messages, but did so in a creative, humorous way which engaged citizens and alleviated calls and complaints to Public Works, allowing them more time to engage productively in the field. The multi-faceted Better Roads Ahead campaign included traditional communication methods, but was augmented with fun, quirky signage, videos and BRAD, the Better Roads Ahead Dude. What began as a silly way to share routine information became a community sensation with residents wondering where BRAD would end up next. Come meet BRAD and learn how Novi turned squeaky wheels into construction champions through an innovative approach to road project communication.
Learning Objectives:
  • The value of interdepartmental partnerships and trust
  • The appeal of using humor in communicating routine information
  • Benefits of multi-faceted communications
  • Importance of building trust with the community

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Don’t Launch a Stinker: Learn how to build an Innovation Program that Engages Everyone
Park District of Oak Park, IL
Population: 52,000
Do you want to build an innovation program that has a high engagement rate? Are you looking for a way to build an innovation program in your organization? Do you want to measure the effectiveness of innovation?
If yes, come learn how the Park District of Oak Park built an innovation process around its online idea portal Launch Pad. We'll discuss how to build a selection criteria, vetting ideas, project management, and engagement strategies (live polling, awards, contests, and more). Finally, they will address how to measure the effectiveness of innovation. All attendees will leave with their own innovation process.
Learning Objectives:
  • Discover engagement strategies that make innovation fun and lead to more employee participation.
  • Develop a process around innovation including vetting ideas, project management, and organization buy-in.
  • Learn how to utilize data to determine how innovative your culture is.

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A campfire chat on our Green Building Program
City of Palo Alto, CA
Population: 67,178
The City of Palo Alto is recognized as a leader in sustainability - recognized in 2017 as the first city in California to achieve a Platinum Level Beacon Award, the highest level possible for its efforts and leadership in addressing climate change. In this session attendees will hear a broader perspective of sustainability efforts, then take a deeper dive into one area of the City’s sustainability initiatives: the Green Building Program. In 2016-17, Palo Alto adopted “reach” codes: regulatory limitations to its energy and building codes that reached well beyond California’s already progressive standards. Through community outreach and interdepartmental collaboration, we were able to build council support to approve this extensive level of action toward sustainability. Implementation of the new regulations also involved considerable bureaucratic creativity to provide strong customer service to commercial and residential developers and homeowners.

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PHX CARES: A Collaborative Approach Addressing Homelessness
City of Phoenix, AZ
Population: 1.6 million
“You can’t arrest your way out of the homeless problem” has been heard by government leaders around the world. Phoenix changed its tactics on homeless issues by creating “PHX C.A.R.E.S.” (Community, Action, Response, Engagement, Services) – a coordinated program among key departments who work on homeless concerns in our community. A single digital platform allows residents to report issues and simultaneously dispatch a team of experts to engage, educate and provide social services to those experiencing homelessness. Follow up with the neighbor or business owner takes place, along with collecting analytics to monitor repeat issues, trends and success stories.
Learning Objectives:
Attendees will gain insight about PHX C.A.R.E.S. with the following:
  • Changing the focus from a ‘police problem’ with targeted enforcement to now targeted outreach.
  • Developing a program with limited resources that went from a single spread sheet to a contemporary online tool for residents and staff.
  • Leading with services to engage community partners and educate the public on healthy resources to help the homeless.

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Analytics Academy: How Raleigh empowers employees to make data-driven decisions
City of Raleigh, NC
Population: 458,000

Are you creating a new strategic plan or performance management program? Are your employees scared of the additional work or that they may not succeed? Come listen to the City of Raleigh talk about how they dealt with the same challenge. Raleigh’s Strategic Planning and Performance Analytics aligns the city’s analytic training program with the City’s priorities so employees are set up to succeed in achieving the City’s strategic priorities. Attendees will get to participate in an interactive session where they will eat chocolate, play with Play-Doh, learn more about Raleigh’s story, and leave with concrete steps on how they can align their organizational training with their strategic priorities.
Learning Objectives:

  • Learn the importance of aligning strategic, analytical and process improvement training with organizational priorities
  • Learn to how to prepare employees to meet new data-influenced expectations
  • Learn about challenges and opportunities you may face in developing internal strategy, analytical and process improvement trainings
  • Learn about the importance of cross-departmental collaboration in setting up employees for success

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Mather Veterans Village: A Place to Call Home
City of Rancho Cordova, CA
Population: 73,847
What happens when you combine the vision of four unique community partners and the passion and force of dedicated staff who believe that no veteran should be homeless? What happens when ten years of roadblocks, red tape and lack of funding crosses paths with sheer determination? Learn how the seed of an idea—a village dedicated to the care and housing of our nation’s homeless veterans—blossomed into Mather Veterans Village, new permanent supportive and transitional housing for the unique needs of homeless veterans. Listen to the stories of veterans whose lives are transformed because they now have a place to call home.
Learning Objectives:
  • Learn how unlikely partnerships can create a strong foundation
  • Understand the scope and resources needed for a project of this magnitude
  • Learn new ways to navigate funding gaps and red tape roadblocks
  • Understand the power of storytelling in reaching your project goals

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Economic Development Partnerships
Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, NV

Economic impact study shows that Reno Sparks Indian Colony (RSIC), leaked $104,000,000 total economic impact to the surrounding community in 2015, and created nearly 800 jobs. The colony identifies win/win situations with the State, and participates in such projects. 

  • $1.3 million in environmental cleanup north of the GSR
  • A partnership in financing to construct 1.4 miles of floodwall/levee
  • Used BAA to construct Eagle Canyon Road, which has benefitted the local community by facilitating development of housing
  • The Colony is partnering with local governments to produce safe road between Spanish Springs and Sun Valley and between Spanish Springs and Lemon Valley
  • The Colony participates in Artown
  • Produces Powwow annually
  • Produces many cultural events open to the public

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What Happens when Government Launches an Accelerator Program?
Sacramento Area Council of Governments
Across the globe, technology and innovation has been a proven disruptor in systems, and yet government is still falling short on adopting the best practices. Too often local and regional governments are not part of the innovation process, and even pose to be a barrier to innovation. In order to maximize the potential of new, low cost, and creative solutions integrated with technology and the private sector, the public sector must have a seat at the table, and be ready to iterate and work differently. This session will explore the successes and lessons learned of SACOG’s Civic Lab, the first local government accelerator in the Sacramento region.
Learning Objectives:
  • Learn the key elements of a successful government-oriented accelerator program.
  • Understand how staff on the ground apply practices from the private sector to advance project.
  • Learn how a regional agency created streamlined procurement and pilot project opportunities.

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Can employees be swayed? Engaging employees to create an organizational culture change
City of Salisbury, NC
Population: 34,001
The Sway initiative has changed the culture for the City of Salisbury. The program, implemented by employees, has taken our customer service initiative to a new level that is not only about customer service, but also who we are as an organization. Sway has moved the needle for our organization and employees are proud to represent the City. Employees take ownership and pride that could not have been achieved without the unique creation and implementation of Sway. Employees now have relationships across departments. They have been empowered, encouraged and supported to make decisions on all levels in order to do the right thing.
Learning Objectives:
  • What does a customer service culture look like?
  • Why is a customer service culture initiative important?
  • How do you engage employees and break down silos to create an organizational culture change?

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Think Geek: Solving Challenges with Civic Technology
City of San Antonio, TX
Population: 1.493 million
Civic Technology has the power to create lasting, transformative relationships between government and citizens. This session will explore the City of San Antonio’s approach to creating co-collaborators out of local government, students, and the entrepreneur community. Through a program called CivTechSA, San Antonio is leveraging the creativity and enthusiasm of entrepreneurship to solve community challenges, increase the city’s capacity for innovation, and grow the local tech ecosystem. Join us to hear about how the program came together, what works, what doesn’t, and lessons learned along the way. Following the presentation, you’ll have the chance to develop and pitch your own ideas about how a civic technology engagement program can help solve challenges in your community.
Learning Objectives:
  • Explore and define the role Civic Technology can play in your city.
  • Learn how we are engaging students, entrepreneurs, and startups to solve problems.
  • Understand how community partnerships can help grow civically-minded tech talent.
  • Participate in a mini “Startup Weekend” exercise to identify challenges in your community that could benefit from a civic technology engagement approach.

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Measure what Matters – How to accomplish results through an organization-wide initiative that increases employee engagement and leadership development opportunities
City of Scottsdale, AZ
Population: 249,950
Learn innovative strategies to build or improve a performance management initiative in your organization. Presenters will kick off the presentation by sharing how they have created an innovative approach to budget and annual reporting, leadership development through team involvement and regional benchmarking to improve their efforts at data-driven decision-making in Scottsdale, Arizona. The session will use interactive exercises to help participants identify staff skills needed to carry out the initiative and identify who they might recruit for their teams.
Learning objectives:
  • Make sure it’s a priority. Build cross-functional teams for buy-in and to carry-out plans
  • Build your capacity. Use training and teams to increase knowledge and develop leaders
  • Never sit still. Use annual action plans and keep working to improve year after year

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Navigating Through (Not Around) Racial Equity: Lessons from the City of St. Louis Park
City of St. Louis Park, MN
Population: 49,029 

The racial equity journey will look different for every community yet there is a simple formula that can be followed as you navigate through awareness, knowledge, skills and practice.

Racial equity efforts are gaining momentum across the nation, and the public sector is no different. Local governments have talked for a long time about the importance of respecting racial diversity and embracing a range of cultures as part of the social fabric of our society. However the term, racial equity, is a relatively new concept to many…and that’s where the conversation often stops! We know what racial equity means and we know why it is important to local government. Now, we ready to start our navigating through racial equity. The main focus of this breakout will be highlight key action steps cities can take to advance this work with little to no resources through awareness, knowledge, skills and practice.

  • Understand and assess different ways to apply an explicit equity lens to collective impact work
  • Assess ideas and tools that can support racial equity with limited resources
  • Understand the complex intersections between racial equity, community engagement and collective impact

View the Session Presentation (Prezi): https://prezi.com/view/wVyk18rfmy69fQmLlsI5/

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Accelerating a Data-Driven Culture
City of Tempe, AZ
Population: 179,800 

Are we utilizing data to make decisions?  Are we adjusting based on the evidence?  While 75% of organizations report they are using data and evidence to make decisions, only 33% are modifying existing programs and services to achieve priorities.

This interactive presentation will show you how the City of Tempe AZ has transformed its organizational culture to better use metrics and evidence to advance community priorities. 

Takeaways include: “A Blueprint for Building a Data-Driven Culture” that is scalable for organizations or smaller teams; a worksheet to guide the development of a performance measure that is outcome-based and aligned to priorities; and, a template for hosting your own “Acceleration” data-driven strategy session.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand why a data-driven culture is worth the effort
  • Learn how to build a data-driven culture on your scale
  • Explore tools for supporting decision making with evidence

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Electronic Document Certification: An Innovative Usage of Blockchain Technology in Local Government
Washoe County, NV
Population: 446,903

The Washoe County Recorder stands at the forefront of document certification using Ethereum blockchain technology to electronically secure and transmit marriage certificates. The application not only cut down average delivery time for “proof of marriage” to customers from weeks to within minutes, but provides an easy and secure way for receiving agencies to verify that the document is authentic, who issued it, and that no information on the document is altered down to every single pixel. This innovative technology has vast potential to impact the way all departments in government relay information in a more efficient and secure manner.
Learning Objectives:
  • Applicable uses of blockchain certification in government.
  • How blockchain can be used in secure transmittal and storage of information.
  • Impact of digital document usage in government.

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Washoe Leadership Program: Innovation by Employees for Employees
Washoe County, NV
Population: 446,903

WLP takes employee teams to another level with a structure developed to maximize synergy and resulting outcomes. The program provides committee members professional development as they take on roles that include: committee leadership, budget management, teamwork, project management and communications. Committees through their projects, accomplish organizational goals that could not be accomplished with staff resources -- employee recognition, expanded training, employee focused communication and events that honor and celebrate our workforce.
Learning Objectives:

  • Toolbox for developing a sustainable employee engagement program
  • Ideas on the value and benefits of projects for and by employees
  • Understand how to leverage cross-departmental collaboration

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