Research Request: Innovation Programs


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:

“Private and public sector models for Innovation Programs (including employee suggestion programs and kaizen/brainstorming events).”  

Summary of Findings: 


Recently there has been a great ‘blooming’ for models of innovation programs and internal staff development. There does appear to be just one successful model. Stretching back to 1988, Tereasa Amabile, researcher and psychologist, wrote an often-cited work “A Model of Creativity and Innovation in Organizations” examining the factors that lead to such success in organizations.  


For a practical and comprehensive rundown of the many of the current models, theories and terms, read “Key Innovation Management Models and Theories” -  


Toolkits and Resources: 


  • Every year, the Alliance for Innovation hosts an 8-month Innovation Academy, a tested framework to strengthen the culture of innovation in local government organizations and support innovative programs in the following ways; 

  • Understand the innovation process and how to integrate it into your organization. 

  • Build cross functional teams which have the capacity to address organizational and community issues. 

  • Expand organizational capacity for ongoing innovation. 

  • Learn more about your organizational culture and how to cultivate leadership. 

  • Undertake a new project which will contribute to the organization and/or address a community issue along with action plan development for increasing internal capacity to build an innovative culture. 


  • City of Olathe, KS Idea Booster 

  • Can provide contacts, if needed 


  • Innovate Durham 

  • NEW: Innovation Showcase application for “a partnership program between startups, entrepreneurs and local government. Through the program, startups can use the City and County of Durham as a lab to test out an idea, product or service.” 

  • A wide-reaching project, other features include soliciting staff project ideas 



  • International perspective:  

  • [Very comprehensive] How to innovate - Finding the Right Tools 

  • ‘Innovating the Public Sector: from Ideas to Impact’ 

  • Daglio, M.; Gerson D.; Kitchen H. (forthcoming, 2015), ‘Building Organisational Capacity for Public Sector Innovation’, Background Paper prepared for the OECD Conference “Innovating the Public Sector: from Ideas to Impact”, Paris, 12-13 November 2014. 


  • The at Stanford offers curriculum in design thinking, including executive leadership training:  

  • Design thinking: a five-step process for creative problem solving/thinking 

  • Focused on the user and rooted in empathy-building 


  • Kaizen methodology includes structured brainstorming 


  • Design Charettes are “hands-on workshops that bring people from different disciplines and backgrounds together with members of the community to explore design options for a particular area. It differs from a traditional community consultation process in that it is design based.” 

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