For the final installment of our Innovation Webinar Series we are excited to welcome Story Bellows from the City of Philadelphia, PA. The work being done at Philadelphia excites us because they are truly trying to integrate innovation into the very fabric of the organization. Join us in January to find out how.
CANCELLED: We regret that we have to cancel this event but our speaker is no longer available, we apologize for any inconvenience.
How are they innovative?
Although new apps and hackathons may be helpful, sometimes they aren’t enough. An article in CityScope outlines the feeling perfectly, “There’s a growing sense in both Europe and the United States that hackathons, apps challenges and other recent efforts to spark innovation in cities aren’t enough. If cities truly want to inject their bureaucracies with new ideas for solving problems, they’ll have to re-think the nuts and bolts of how they buy stuff.” (source). This means changing how governments do business and particularly the fickle ways of the procurement process. That’s how ELGL learned about the efforts in Philadelphia.
The City of Philadelphia competed for and won the 2013 Bloomberg Mayor’s Challenge for their idea to rethink how to do procurement. Instead of sticking with an old system that forced government to spell out exactly what they wanted in a bid, they presented a problem and asked for solutions, resulting in 82 submissions. They created a business accelerator called FastFWD, providing $10,000 to 10 companies for a 12-week program that also provided entrepreneurs access to city officials, key to understanding what kind of programs and solutions would actually work. The end result has been very successful.
Meet the Speaker
Story Bellows is the Director of the Philadelphia Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics. The Office runs the FastFWD program and “pilots experiments that offer the potential to improve radically the quality of City services.” Prior to working for the City of Philadelphia Ms. Bellows worked at the Mayors Institute on City Design, the American Architectural Foundation, and CannonDesign. She has a Masters in City Design and Social Science form the London School of Economics and a BA from Colgate University (go Raiders!).