Philadelphia, August 1, 2014– Mayor Michael A. Nutter opened the City of Philadelphia’s Innovation Lab, a technology-enabled space in which City employees, community members and external partners can work together to create solutions to municipal challenges, located in the Municipal Services Building during a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“I believe that good government is efficient, effective and innovative. It should be data-driven, willing to implement best practices, streamlined and accessible to all City employees and citizens,” said Mayor Nutter. “Early in my Administration, I decided to make innovation a priority. It required a completely new mindset, a new culture within government. This Lab is a testament to that effort and is an innovation in its own right. I can’t wait to see all of the solutions and great ideas that will come out of the collaborative work done here.”
Managing Director and Deputy Mayor for Administration & Coordination Richard Negrin said, “The Lab will encourage both employees and outside stakeholders to inject creativity and collaboration into our municipal operations. It will help ensure that ‘innovation’ is not thought of as a buzzword or a temporary initiative but as a value and commitment in government to push the limits and work tirelessly for a better city.”
The Lab can accommodate individual use, cross-departmental co-working and scheduled programming. Programming will take a number of forms, including topical research modules in areas such as GIS and spatial analysis, economic development and arts & culture, and will focus on enhancing civic collaboration and engagement.
Meetings and learning sessions in the Lab can be held around a large conference table or at one of two workstations, and employees can work casually around small tables in comfortable chairs. The Lab itself is outfitted with five wall-mounted flat screen monitors, offers wireless Internet access for all users and can accommodate wireless projection from a device to the monitors.
Additionally, the Lab offers multiple double-sided, movable white boards and features a bank of wall mounted white boards. Laptops and other portable devices will be available for use in the Lab.
The Innovation Lab is a key component of Philadelphia’s overall plan to build an infrastructure of innovation within municipal government. This physical space is complemented by an Innovation Academy and an Innovation Fund. The Academy for Municipal Innovation is a partnership with Philadelphia University in which City employees receive formal training in the principles of innovation and then apply those principles to their day-to-day work. The Innovation Fund, a subset of the Mayor’s Fund for Philadelphia, formalizes a process to develop ideas and proposals for pilot projects designed to improve City processes, systems and outcomes. Together, these three initiatives allow Philadelphia’s government to provide constituent services in new and improved ways.