Research Request: Innovation Funding Special Projects


As part of your membership benefits, the Alliance staff provide research services for local government member submitted requests. Topics can range from pressing issues to emerging trends. This benefit is made possible through our partnership with Arizona State University Marvins Andrews Fellowship

Request Prompt:

What are local government processes of funding innovation projects internally? Often a project defined as innovative is one geared towards creating a new and effective method that will enhance the customer’s experiences. Funding for innovation projects can come from various organization that has a mission objective to support company’s ideas of innovation.

Background Research:

City of Portland, Oregon Funding Guidelines

City of Portland innovation fund was created by the city council in fiscal year 13-14 and is administered by the OMF Business Operations. The innovation funds grant was created to fund ideas that were promising to improve city government. Innovation review panel looks at these criteria before accepting funding proposals. 1. Promote equity and opportunity. 2. Improve customer service. 3. Save time or money. 4. Improve city services. The ideal innovation proposal is a proof of concept that could ultimately be continued or replicated. Innovation funds are intended to finance new work, not to replace or supplement current salaries. Proposals should communicate a comprehensive, well-thought out plan for any requested innovation dollars, and the bureau should have sufficient staff resources to carry out the project. Major grants range from $20,001 to $150,000. Micro-grants range from $1 to $20,000.

For more information: Fund Guidelines(1).pdf 

City of Los Angeles, California In-House venture capital fund

Los Angeles has created in-house venture capital fund that has up to $1 million dollars funding available that has become a part of the general city funds. The innovation ideas will be evaluated by city officials, including representatives of the mayor’s office. For your funding request to be considered it must include ideas such as: 1. Innovation and original (keeps Los Angeles ahead of the curve and the creative). 2. Support greater efficiencies (Does the idea improve a process, save time, increase collaboration among departments). 3. Emphasize priority outcomes and quality of life (Does the idea help create a livable and sustainable city). 4. Be feasible and measurable (Can be executed within 6 to 12 months of being funded). The initial funding is projecting to fund at least 10 projects. The funding project will only be given to city departments and no outside sources.

For more information:

State of Ohio Local Government Innovation Fund

The local government innovation fund was established to provide direct financial resources for planning and implementation of projects that promote collaboration, coproduction and shared services. The fund program provides up to $50,000 in grant funds for feasibility studies. The goals of the program are to provide more efficient service, stimulate economic growth in the private sector and encourage community attraction allowing communities to save money. (Payment Process) twenty percent of total amount of grant funding shall be available to grantee in a lump sum upon the execution of the agreement. There is a three-step request process in fulfilling the total funds. Initial step is the request form of a payment and completing a progress form to help track progression of project. At the initial step request you are only allowed to request 20% of funds. 2nd request (payment request form, progress report form, invoice with proof of payment for initial 20%, invoices with proof of payment for any additional amount requesting with up 21%-90% of available funding). Upon receiving the final payment request (payment request form, final study and invoices with payment for remaining balance) must be submitted to receive final 10% of payment.

For more information:

City of Baltimore, Maryland innovation Program

Baltimore innovation program is composed of three city initiatives: The innovation fund, the employee innovation program and Baltimore L.I.F.T (Lean, Innovation, Forward Thinking). These initiatives encourage Baltimore City employees to think outside of the box on improving the city services on how they are delivered and producing better outcomes. The innovation program gives employees the opportunity to present their ideas on how they believe they can improve the local government on a small and large scale. Giving them the opportunity to host events where employees can gather to examine a process and improve it by replying on their ideas, input and experience. The goal overall is to create a lean government. There has been $4.9 million dollars invested in innovation fund projects and 10 innovation programs have been funded since 2012. Baltimore has created an innovation lab that gives creative space for their employees to think, plan and act on their ideas. The lab is multipurpose space where employees can gather, discuss challenges, map out solutions and plan for implementation. Some innovation projects that have been funded so far from the project are, “E-plans” which focuses on housing and community development a project that transitioned reviewing projects from paper to an all-electronic system. Another innovation project was “video camera accident reduction” for fire departments, which provided installation of cameras in Fire departments vehicles to monitor driver behaviors and reduce the accident repair costs.

For more information: Report_v2.pdf

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