City, Town, County Management
Case Studies and Awards

View All Case Studies and Awards 2018 Case Studies City of Arvada Power to the People: Empowering Employees Through Employee Committees Population: 115,368 An empowered employee committee can bring innovation, collaboration and energy to the workplace far beyond double-ply and employee morale. Employees that participate in a successful employee committee can help make a positive organizational change, foster and improve workforce relations, as well as make a difference in the community. Session takeaways: Ideas on how to build a strong partnership with upper management, employees and the community Different ways to empower the employee body to set up a successful employee committee that will make a difference Collaboration of ideas around employee committees View the Case Study City of Calgary, AB Thinking in BETA & Turning people ON To achieve amazing things we need amazing teams. We believe that if information flows everywhere our understanding of problems will be richer. We are stronger when we trust and enable each other to decide and act. We can't predict the future, but we can invent it together.In this fast paced & interactive session learn about the peaks and pitfalls Civic Innovation YYC has encountered building a risk embracing culture across the municipal corporation. By sharing lessons from our formal and informal experiments we want to elevate the conversation and empower fellow “innovation mindset gardeners.” We want to share our tools, experience and help other municipalities diagnose and craft the unique culture they need to unlock opportunities.Session takeaways: Crowdsourcing can do more than uncover raw ideas – it can be a source of insight & strategic foresight for your corporation Innovation processes cannot be scaled efficiently, but innovation friendly cultures can. Permission can be obtained in many ways – when in doubt create fake patterns in the system until real ones emerge. View the Case Study City and County of Denver, CO A new look for libraries! Transforming an old institution into a progressive opportunity for positive change Population: 649,495The City/County of Denver is rethinking the use of an age old institution. The Public Library. In a world that is increasingly isolated, libraries are one of the few public places people from diverse walks of life congregate. Because of this, libraries find themselves not only assisting people with genealogy and research projects, but also helping people navigate shelter systems, food resources, immigration questions, access to substance treatment, and other life challenges.In 2015 the Denver Public Library hired its first social worker and second in 2016. Using funds acquired through a Federal grant, DPL created the Peer Navigator program. This program supports the social workers in assisting Denver's most vulnerable community members. Peer Navigators are individuals living in recovery from substance use, homelessness or justice involvement, and live in wellness with a mental health diagnosis. Utilizing the peer connections that can be made with vulnerable populations, DPL is finding a niche in the solution to homelessness, drug use, poverty, and more. Peer Navigators not only connect to help, but also role model to the library customers, library staff, and community that recovery is possible.Session takeaways: Re-think how to maximize your library and other public spaces Understand how to leverage partnerships with like-minded organizations Learn how to fund special projects with little or no general fund dollars View the Case Study City of Decatur, GA Aiming High for High Performance Buildings - Successful strategies for planning and implementing a Community Wide High Performance (Green) Building Standard Population: 22,000 As cities plan for a future where sustainability and resilience are a priority, creating a High Performance Building Standard is often a far reaching goal for residents who wish to see green building practices implemented across the entire community. In many cases, the adoption of a community wide High Performance Building Standards are out of reach for many small local governments where planning and building departments lack the necessary resources plan, construct and implement an ordinance that promotes both innovation and sustainability.In 2010, the residents of Decatur, Georgia adopted a 10 year strategic plan with a goal to create a development ordinance requiring a community wide green building code for public and private construction projects. The community felt strongly that the state-adopted energy conservation and construction codes were not following the same trajectory of sustainability and resiliency as other government and community resources already in place throughout the city. In 2014, after 2 years of study and input, the City’s High Performance Building Standards were adopted and to date, over 250 new and renovated buildings have been certified under the program.This case study will provide other local governments who may not have the resources to write and enforce their own standard to learn about what makes a building a high performance building and the already established standards that can assist them in creating their own ordinance. Come and see how a city like Decatur, GA with 22,000 residents now has the most comprehensive green building code in the southeastern United States with no additional city staff or advanced technical knowledge. This presentation will provide participants with the opportunity to learn successful strategies to plan for, design and administer a community wide High Performance Building Standard. View the Case Study City of Gainesville, FL From $0 in Two Years to over $800K in Process Improvements in Eight Months: How We Overcame Barriers to Success and How You Might Avoid Them Population: 125,000We did everything right: Lean Black Belt training with Peak Academy in Denver, a committed champion who desperately wanted this to work in her Public Works Department, and a by-the- book, well-crafted roll-out strategy. Yet over two years into our implementation we had a rather anemic track record of success.We stopped, assessed what was and wasn’t working, and realized our mistakes. We had focused on just two of the 8 critical elements necessary to create and sustain a Lean continuous improvement culture and get the results we were looking for. We re-launched our efforts and the results have been astounding.Session takeaways: A Lean Continuous Improvement Tool that is used to identify waste (opportunities for improvement) Insight into our successes and what we did to overcome initial failures A tool that will help you put together a plan to avoid the barriers that you are likely to run across in any improvement effort View the Case Study City of Goodyear, AZ KEEP CALM: Engage On Population: 78,189Tired of hearing from the same few people? City officials want to hear from people and really listen to residents when they show up to public meetings, but when few people turn out to provide input, the voice of the community defaults to those few individuals. We need alternative ways to engage residents in the civic process.How do you reach residents who are: Uncomfortable with government? Intimidated by the subject matter? Unavailable during regularly scheduled meeting times? Restricted by childcare needs or other responsibilities? Goodyear, Arizona has been making strides to enrich resident engagement by making participation more accessible to its residents. Innovative tweaks to commonly used tools can revolutionize engagement by ensuring more voices are heard, removing barriers, and opening the door of conversation to people who are intimidated by, or otherwise excluded from, the traditional public process. Find out how they’re doing it and get tips and tricks to foster creativity in transforming your city’s outreach tools into valuable engagement tools.Meet TOM, a unique engagement tool deployed in the city of Goodyear, to collect public input where stakeholders are found. You’ll learn: The difference between outreach and engagement. Strategies to reduce frustration and fear of citizen input. Techniques to transform outreach tools to engagement tools. View the Case Study Hennepin County, MN Co-creating Government Population: 1,200,000 Innovation by Design is a Hennepin County creative problem-solving approach based in human-centered design. It starts with the people we're serving and ends with a service that is specifically tested and designed for them. Innovation by Design is guided by the mindsets of empathy, optimism, and experiment. This presentation focuses on the Young Adult Housing Model project, in which the Young Adult Housing Model was prototyped by gathering input from young adults, housing and supportive service providers, foundations, and other government agencies. This Innovation by Design approach was based entirely in the co-creation aspects of human-centered design methodology.Join us to hear about how Hennepin County uses Innovation by Design coupled with strong facilitation skills and how you can use a similar approach in your local government. This is an opportunity to learn more about how you can use this approach in your own work by starting your work with empathy-based methods. Participants will learn how to empathy map, a collaborative tool uncovering deeper insights and understandings of our customer’s needs, regardless of subject matter.Session takeaways: Learn why co-creation in government is the path to meaningful, resident-focused services  Understand how empathy-based approaches enhance government services  Experience empathy mapping and leave with a plan to use for your own empathy map exercise View the Case Study Town of Innisfil, ON Innisfil Transit: Powered by Uber Population: 37,000In 2015, as Innisfil’s rapidly growing population was resulting in the need to provide a public transit service, the Town completed a Transit Feasibility Study to examine transit options. After considering options for fixed-route bus services, the Town determined it would be too costly and service would be limited.Instead, the Town looked for a transit system that was on-demand, affordable and could service the needs of all members of the community. From there, the Town of Innisfil worked with Uber to develop Innisfil Transit; an on-demand, shared rides platform powered by Uber and subsidized by the Town. This ridesharing transit service was launched on May 15, 2017 and continues to operate in Innisfil - the results have been incredible!Session takeaways:By sharing our story and results of partnering with Uber to power Innisfil Transit, we’re aiming for our audience to be left with the following key inspirational take-a-ways: Think differently! Need to re-frame the problem to help find an alternative and potentially more effective solution.  Take the leap! Need to be willing to accept risks in order to realize the benefits of an alternative solution.  Just try it out! Need to try something first – if even initially on a trial basis - in order to see if it works.  It doesn’t need to be perfect! The willingness to be imperfect will help unlock the testing of creativity and innovative solutions. View the Case Study Kitsap County, WA and City of Olathe, KS You have nothing to fear – Dashboard Perspective, Tips, and Tools for both Cities and Counties Population: 250,000 and 137,000This session will begin with Olathe, KS taking you on a creative journey designed to inspire and address how to affordably launch a community dashboard with support of a partner. This is an opportunity to increase engagement with Citizens and show progress toward goals. Any City can do it with a good road map and some tried and true basic tenants. Plus, it doesn’t have to break the bank – not even close! We’ll go over key steps to consider and share learnings.Kitsap County will then share their experience in gathering data and creating insightful visuals for both internal operations and to publish for citizens. Simplifying the complexity of data helps our County and City leaders make more transparent and informed decisions. As you walk through the steps to create an interactive dashboard with common data, see how easy it is to explore and better understand large amounts of information. Learn performance and operations dashboarding from both a city and county perspective Understand how two different and inexpensive tools have been used to create dashboards Gain insight into data gathering and reporting for public facing and internal facing dashboards View the Case Study for Kitsap County, WA View the Case Study for the City of Olathe, KS City of Lakewood, WA Building a Regional Military Community Population: 60,665This presentation focuses on how to facilitate regional military – community integration. SSMCP focuses on the intersection of issues between local governments and the military community. The Partnership works to address issues that affect military and civilian communities around Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) and to foster outcomes that are mutually beneficial for the South Puget Sound region. A military installation the size of JBLM is a major employment center much like a large business (i.e. Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon, etc…). JBLM is the #2 employer in the state and #1 employer in Pierce County. JBLM is invested in more than 17 communities surrounding the base. The influence of JBLM spans the entire South Sound. The cumulative support local communities provide to military installations is critical to their mission and military readiness. View the Case Study Mecklenburg County, NC Two Birds, One Stone: How Mecklenburg County Overcame Two Challenges with One Innovation Population: 1,054,835 A construction boom is usually good news for any community - but the demand for permitting and inspection services experienced a steep increase that could not be met with current staffing. Conventional hiring methods were insufficient as the pool of qualified potential code officials was almost dry. At the same time, the county’s Veteran Services division had prioritized reducing veteran homelessness, in large part through employment training and placement. BUILDING WITH OUR VETERANS was a beautiful marriage to solve both challenges!BUILDING WITH OUR VETERANS places qualified veterans in a year-long apprenticeship with experienced Mecklenburg County code officials serving as mentors, while completing classroom training at the local community college. At the end of the program, participants have the opportunity to take the state qualification exam and apply for a full-time permanent staff position. To date, this program has been recognized by the N.C. Department of Commerce, the N.C. Association of County Commissioners and the National Association of Counties.Learn how Mecklenburg County: Embraced Challenges!  Created Opportunities!  Pursued Collaboration!  Welcomed Innovation! View the Case Study City of Olympia, WA How to unlock the power of your community vision to drive change Population: 52,160You’ve done the hard work of adopting a bold community vision, and perhaps you have an ambitious strategic plan to go with it. Great! But is your community’s vision actually driving organizational change? Too often, visions and strategic plans are relegated to the shelf, while emerging issues, competing strategic documents, and annual budgets guide the work of local government.In response to a deeply engaged citizenry and in an effort to transform our organization’s approach to serving our citizens, Olympia has embarked on instilling a culture of achieving our community’s vision throughout our City organization. We are radically shifting and aligning our attention, resources, and the way in which we do business towards achieving that vision in a way that exemplifies inclusiveness, transparency, and collaboration.In this session, attendees will learn methods for: Using indicators and performance metrics to track, share, and learn how to make progress towards achieving your community’s vision Using innovative outreach and engagement methods to foster City staff, key stakeholders or partners, and community member investment in promoting and carrying out your vision Aligning multiple, competing strategic documents and planning and budgeting processes towards accomplishing your vision Engaging City staff, elected officials, and community members in an intentional annual cycle of learning, engaging, and investing to achieve your vision. View the Case Study City of Ontario, CA Change Your Culture, Change Your Life! Population: 169,869Does culture really eat strategy for lunch? This session will answer this aged-old question and will challenge you to think differently about organizational culture. Learn why a people-centric culture is now the new business model for organizational success and personal happiness. As managers, we are generally very good at transactional leadership and managing the daily operations of our governmental departments. However, as government leaders of the enterprise, we must also strategically work on transformational leadership, focusing on inspiring people and developing a culture of employee engagement and innovation.This session will present extraordinary findings from a personal journey of human leadership. Topics to be covered include vision, transformational leadership, culture, organizational values, employee engagement, work-life integration, high performance team, and attracting and retaining a talented work force for tomorrow.Session takeaways: Finding greater fulfillment by making a difference in people’s lives Why a people-centric culture is the new productivity Putting heart back in government to better serve the people View the Case Study Park District of Oak Park, IL Passport to Partnership: Activating your Community through ExplorationPassport to Partnership: Activating your Community through Exploration Population: 52,000Experience an interactive workshop that features a passport program encouraging youth activity and discovery in local parks. This project was a collaborative effort between the park district, elementary school district and library.From concept to implementation, hear about our journey and get a taste of what our passport participants experienced in a fun hands-on activity. Learn about the barriers encountered and how they were overcome, how key partners were brought on board and learn about our future plans. Leave this session with a tool kit to develop your own passport program tailored to fit the needs of your community.Session takeaways: Learn about a unique and fun way to engage and activate your community Leave with a blue print for implementing a similar program. Develop a strategy for connecting with local partners.  View the Case Study City of Philadelphia, PA Being a Better Partner: Philadelphia’s Journey to redefine the RFP Process Population: 1,567,872Since its inception in 2016, the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) has worked to identify and promote efficiencies across City government. To kickstart this work, staff from the CAO conducted several vendor focus groups to understand what some of the biggest pain points were for business that worked with the City. Feedback from these sessions defined the CAO’s portfolio for the next year and a half.In this session, we’ll walk you through some of the human-centered design methodologies we employed with City staff and vendors. We’ll also describe the city-wide pilot project and implementation of an e-signature platform, and highlight key learnings from our partnership with the startup that helped us launch an RFP composition tool. Our goal in engaging in this work is to be a better vendor partner and provide City staff with additional resources to make the Request for Proposals (RFP) process easier for both City staff and vendors to navigate, redefining what it means to do business with the City.Session Takeaways: Learn how incorporating Human Centered Design methods can help drive a solution that meets the needs of the end users Participate in a session to identify the characteristics of strong Scopes of Work Glean tips and tricks to help make the most of working with a start up View the Case Study City of Phoenix, AZ Phoenix/Tucson Water Exchange – A Unique Partnership to Store and Move Water Through Time Population: 1,615,017As the two largest cities in mostly rural Arizona, Phoenix and Tucson have distinct and separate cultural identities. Boasting a rich 243-year history, Tucson is one of the oldest cities in the United States, while Phoenix’s upstart post-1950 growth has catapulted it to the 5th largest city in the nation. The relationship of these cities has often reflected the rivalries of their local state universities, with the stately University of Arizona “bearing down” in Tucson and Arizona State University’s growing sprawl over the Phoenix metropolitan area. One challenge common to these Arizona cities is sustainability in water resources. Each city has approached the “wicked problem” of water in unique and very different ways. Although they are separated by 115 miles of Interstate 10, Phoenix and Tucson share a common water resource in the Colorado River, conveyed more than 300 miles through the Central Arizona Project canal from Arizona’s western border, through Phoenix and uphill to Tucson.In 2014, Phoenix and Tucson embarked in a historic partnership in water that capitalizes on the respective strengths and history of their water utilities in a way that makes both cities more sustainable and resilient in the face of continuing drought in the desert Southwest and threats to the Colorado River Basin. Learn how this “odd couple” came together and forged an alliance that benefits more than 50% of the population of Arizona through an agreement that moves water through time. While this story is all about water sustainability in the American Southwest, it is also an example of creative collaboration between governments that has forged a stronger relationship that goes beyond water resource management and promises a brighter future for the citizens of Phoenix and Tucson.Session takeaways: Collaboration among governments expands opportunities to sustain finite resources. Managing limited shared resources does not have to be a zero sum game Creative solutions and innovation are keys to local resiliency challenges Effective water resource management in the face of a changing climate requires receptivity to adaptation, collaboration and change. View the Case Study City of San Antonio, TX Get Smart: San Antonio’s journey to becoming a smarter city Population: 1,470,000The City of San Antonio is working to become a smarter city, but being a smart city is not just about technology. It’s about people. In FY 2017, the City launched SmartSA, a formal program centered on using smart city technology, to improve city services. Learn how the City of San Antonio is forging partnerships within the community to tackle some of its most pressing challenges that includes: reducing congestion, bridging the digital divide, combatting brain drain and improving the overall quality of life for all residents.Session takeaways: Understand how San Antonio is leveraging partnerships and focusing on actual problems to create a smart city Define what a smart city means to you Participate in an Ideathon exercise to identify pain points for participating cities, right size problem statements and brainstorm potential solutions View the Case Study Sarasota County, FL Think bigger: How a hole in the ground generated millions in economic impact Population: 421,000From a borrow pit in the 1970’s to a local fishing spot in the 1990’s, Sarasota County's Nathan Benderson Park has emerged as an internationally known rowing and sports venue. As the home for the 2017 World Rowing Championships more than 40,000 visitors came to our community in September. This case study outlines how to take advantage of opportunities that have led to the design and construction of a world class venue. The presenting team will discuss the economic impact and value of sports tourism, planning elements behind a $9 million dollar international event, and the importance of collaboration and partnerships to make it all work. This is also a story of resiliency as Hurricane Irma hit Florida just days before the community welcomed thousands of international athletes and visitors. The efforts were described as AMAZING especially under the most challenging of circumstances. It is Sarasota County’s One Team philosophy that allows the County and community partners to come together and do the extraordinary.Session takeaways: Replicating the concepts of leveraging community assets and partners to develop an economic engine that can fuel financial success. Developing a vision for an alternative future by seizing ideas and opportunities Managing and taking risk to make the vision a reality. View the Case Study City of Tacoma, WA Tacoma’s Emergency Response to homelessness Population: 211,277The City of Tacoma used a collaborative and iterative approach to addressing an emergent need in the community around homelessness and encampments. The City Manager pulled together a group of senior management from throughout the organization to use emergency management practices to plan and respond to the issue. Staff also used data to inform their weekly meetings and response plan. Additionally, staff actively engaged the surrounding community and conducted outreach to bring businesses and residents into the conversation on this issue. Triangle J Council of Governments, NC Triangle Regional Resiliency Assessment: Thinking Like a Futurist to Reinvent Collaborative Government Communities across the nation are recognizing an increasing need to plan for the future as they face climate stressors such as extreme weather events (e.g. Hurricanes Harvey and Maria) and non-climate-related threats such as booming population growth and associated development. Many local governments feel the pressure to become more resilient but struggle with how to move beyond the basic plans and status quo for their own jurisdiction; therefore, taking the steps to think outside the box and shift to a regional perspective would generally be out of the question.The Triangle Regional Resilience Partnership (TRRP) was formed by six distinct government entities in the Triangle, North Carolina region, including Cary, Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Orange County, Durham, and Durham County, to try to tackle this from a perspective greater than their own jurisdictional boundaries in order to maximize their resilience. The TRRP partnered with UNC Asheville’s National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center (NEMAC) to guide the partnership through a resilience assessment framework of analyzing, planning, and prioritizing resilience-building strategies and actionable goals as a means to address threats and impacts to key regional assets.Cross-sectoral and regional engagement is key. Our success has relied on representatives from a diverse set of jurisdictional departments participating in the facilitated planning process while the Triangle J Council of Governments (TJCOG) acts as the neutral facilitative entity to streamline collaborative engagement and alleviate pain points that may otherwise derail the process. The unique perspectives of all participants are able to ‘selfishly’ promote vested interests from each department and jurisdiction, which ultimately contribute to a stronger, greater whole. The end deliverable will be a shared vision of how the entire Triangle region can address future change, detailed in a report that can be integrated into each member jurisdictional frameworks, and adapted for regional responses.Session takeaways: Change from both climate and non-climate threats is happening, but can be addressed! Regional resilience is possible with a structured and quantifiable framework; don’t sell yourself short by focusing only on small-scale resilience.  Cross-sectoral and regional engagement is vital! Common ground can always be found with inter- and intra-governmental entities, even when it seems impossible. View the Case Study City of Virginia Beach, VA StormSense Rises to the Challenge: Using Voice and Data Science to Strengthen Community Preparedness Population: 450,000Sea level rise, compounded by storm surge from hurricanes and Nor’easters, has encouraged cities in Hampton Roads to test and share their flood observations and prediction solutions with the world through the Global Cities Team Challenge (GCTC) competition. The City of Virginia Beach plays a key role in the regional collaboration, StormSense, which uses Internet of Things (IoT) water level sensors to monitor flood-prone areas and includes the cities of Newport News and Norfolk and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS). The joint initiative has gained global and national recognition and in 2016, won GCTC's Replicable Smart City Technologies (RSCT) grant. For the StormSense project, city capital improvement programs and RSCT funding are enabling a proliferation of water level sensors that provide much-needed boundary condition data for VIMS hydrodynamic modeling research efforts. Regional partnerships between cities, private industry and the research community, coupled with collaborative participation in innovation competitions on the global stage, are providing a proactive pathway to address future flooding challenges.This presentation provides a glimpse of the myriad synergistic activities that are currently in progress and highlights the recent local and regional successes of collaborations that embrace the smart city paradigm. Emphasis will be placed on how to effectively leverage data analytics, cloud technologies and voice-assisted devices to enhance community preparedness, strengthen flood mitigation efforts and inform critical decision-making.Session takeaways: Learn how to achieve shared goals through the power of regional collaborations and participation in national and global competitions. Gain insight into Internet of Things (IoT) water level sensor selection/installation processes and lessons learned from the StormSense project. Discover new methods of leveraging predictive modeling and data science analytics to raise awareness via voice-assisted systems. Explore opportunities to engage citizens by crowd sourcing data collection and analytical activities.  View the Case Study    

Community Engagement
E-Newsletters

Thousands of local government professionals stay connected with what's happening in local government by subscribing to our newsletters. Sign up today to receive the latest news in your inbox on a daily or weekly basis! It's easy (and FREE) to sign up! Simply register for access to the Alliance for Innovation website and set up your communication preferences. Create an Account Innovation Now is a weekly e-newsletter that delivers the latest career opportunities in local government along with news, member updates, case studies, and innovative ideas on the most important local government issues—from organizational development to drones. Readers also get: Cutting-edge research Real-life success stories from our members Updates on learning opportunities                                         Highlights from our discussion forums Calendar of events View Previous Newsletters Innovation Now Local Government Solutions Journal Transformations (Member-only) Ambassador Update

Latest Tweets

Feedback
Running into a problem? Please describe it (broken link, page not working, can't log in, etc.)
On a scale of 1-5, what do you think of our new website, with 1 being the lowest, and 5 being the highest?*
Please explain why you chose that rating.