Latest News: Technology |  Celebrity |  Movies |  Apple |  Cars |  Business |  Sports |  TV Shows |  Geek


Filed under: News


The Mayors Challenge: Sparking Government Innovation In European Cities

Jan 16 2014, 12:36pm CST | by

10 Updates
The Mayors Challenge: Sparking Government Innovation In European Cities
Photo Credit: Forbes


Recommend Your Tweet as Top Tweet:

Full Story

The Mayors Challenge: Sparking Government Innovation In European Cities

In an interview with James Anderson, head of government-innovation at Bloomberg Philanthropies , we discussed their 2013-2014 Mayors Challenge —a competition to inspire European cities to come up with bold ideas that solve major problems and improve city life – and can ultimately spread to other cities to make a global difference. Modeled on a successful inaugural competition in the United States, the Mayors Challenge will award €5 million for the grand prize winner and €1 million for four additional cities that come up with the boldest and most transferable ideas. The competition invites leaders of European cities with 100,000 residents or more to submit their city’s boldest idea. Over 180 cities signed up for the Mayors Challenge. Their ideas are due January 31.

Rahim Kanani: How did the success of the Mayors Challenge in the United States spur the idea to do a similar experiment in Europe?

James Anderson: The inaugural Mayors Challenge in the United States produced a crop of fresh, powerful ideas — which have real potential to improve lives in America and beyond — and we are excited to inspire a bold new round of innovation from European cities.

None of the U.S. Mayors Challenge ideas stands out more than the idea from Providence , which won the 2012-2013 Mayors Challenge Grand Prize for Innovation. Providence Talks is a unique approach to addressing a widespread, well-documented problem: the socioeconomic “word gap.” Researchers have found that low-income children have heard about 30 million fewer words than their higher-income peers by the time they get to kindergarten, putting them at serious disadvantage. Providence Mayor Angel Taveras learned of new technologies that could help families find out if their children were hearing enough words. He found a creative way to make this technology available to every low-income family in his city. Providence Talks holds the promise of opening new markets and transforming the approach to early childhood education, which is probably why the White House has taken such keen interest in the project. The ideas from Houston (One Bin for All ), Chicago (SmartData Platform ), Santa Monica (Wellbeing Index ), and Philadelphia (FastFWD ) also have potential to transform the way things are done — and make people’s lives better.

At its core, the Mayors Challenge is an innovation process disguised as a competition. It creates space (and powerful incentives) to encourage public sector leaders to think bigger, beyond the demands of daily responsibilities. It encourages government officials to consult with their citizens, social entrepreneurs, and peer cities to understand what’s possible. For cities whose ideas win a place in the top 20, it’s an opportunity to work with experts and peers to deconstruct their ideas, challenge assumptions, and strengthen their concepts and how they communicate them to the public.

As in America, the value of the Mayors Challenge goes beyond prize money and recognition: participating in the process is helping European cities to generate and strengthen bold ideas. These opportunities are few and far between in the public sector.

RK: What kinds of solutions are you hoping to surface or spark in the region? 

JA: We know European cities are focused on a number of issues ranging from migration to an aging population to youth unemployment — and we will be interested to see whether cities advance proposals in those areas. There’s also a strong and established focus on social innovation in European cities, so we are eager to see how they collaborate with partners and citizens to generate ideas.

Each city gets to select both the problem it wants to solve and the solution. The Mayors Challenge is not prescriptive: the program casts a broad net, asking cities to tell us what’s important to them and demanding new creativity. Our only requirements are that ideas be bold, implementable, impactful, transferable.

Last year, a third of the top 20 ideas were what we’d call “capacity” initiatives, namely programs or approaches that improve the approach or work of government across issue areas. Philadelphia’s FastFWD, Chicago’s SmartData Platform, Santa Monica’s Wellbeing Project, and Lexington’s CitizenLex are terrific examples. The remaining cities focused on specific urban challenges, ranging from recycling (Houston) to early childhood education (Providence) to fresh food access (Milwaukee, Knoxville). We expect to see a similar mix from European cities, but we know there are different strengths and challenges in and across Europe, so we also expect to be surprised.

RK: When we talk about innovative collaborations, what are some ways in which governments–here in the U.S. or around the world–are partnering with the private and social sectors to build or deliver something unique and effective?

JA: Effective city leaders are increasingly looking to leverage talent, resources, and creativity across sectors, and we see the Mayors Challenge as a vehicle to catalyze these types of collaborative partnerships and social innovation.

Philadelphia’s winning idea from the 2012-2013 Mayors Challenge is a great example. Mayor Michael Nutter believed that social entrepreneurs and creative Philadelphians could solve major city challenges. But the City’s status quo process for identifying problems and solutions didn’t make room for these actors. So, Mayor Nutter set up an alternative procurement process to encourage civic innovation. Its first priority is engaging entrepreneurs to find market-based opportunities to improve public safety in partnership with GoodCompany Ventures and the Wharton Social Impact Initiative .

It’s exciting stuff. There is huge potential for cities around the world to create new cross-sector partnerships to tackle their toughest challenges, and the Mayors Challenge provides a great vehicle to do just that.

It’s also worth noting that expanding the scope and scale of these innovative partnerships was a core strategy of Mayor Bloomberg’s at City Hall. We recently released The Collaborative City , which looks at 12 years of public-private partnership under his leadership. It shows how these partnerships have the power to help governments overcome the silos, research and development deficits, and agility barriers that too often stymie innovation. The social impact bond we completed with the City of New York and Goldman Sachs, which funds evidence-based programs to help 16-18 year old inmates avoid recidivism, is one great example.

RK: With more than 180 cities in Europe registering to compete, how will you plan to share lessons learned and innovative ideas from all of the non-winners, too, in order to truly scale the amount of insight gleaned from the endeavor? 

JA: During the first Mayors Challenge, we learned that participating city innovators wanted to continue learning and collaborating long after the competition ended. There’s a real appetite to create a community of practice around the skills and approaches that city officials can use to generate better ideas more often. Coming out of this year’s competition, you’ll see a series of opportunities for interested city innovators to continue advancing their ideas, their commitment to innovation, and their connections with peers. Stay tuned. />/>

RK: If this competition proves successful, might you be thinking about future challenges in Latin America, Africa, or Asia? 

JA: We work with eager, creative, and exceptionally talented municipal leaders in cities around the globe – and Mike Bloomberg believes an important role for philanthropy is unlocking their potential and creating room to try new things. We don’t yet know where the Mayors Challenge will take us next. If the 2013-2014 Mayors Challenge is as successful as we think it will be, we anticipate there will be more to come.

Source: Forbes


You Might Also Like


Sponsored Update

Update: 10

MRCB, Nusa Gapurna and PKNS settle suit over RM3 billion PJ Sentral project

Source: Malaysia Today

(The Malaysian Insider) – Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd (MRCB), Nusa Gapurna Development Sdn Bhd (NGD) and PKNS Holdings Sdn Bhd have reached an out-of-court settlement over the ownership of the... READ MORE ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jun 21 2014, 2:53am CDT


Update: 9

Story behind Syed Mokhtar’s ‘RM2.25 billion tax-exempt’ Bernas deal revealed, says PKR MP

Source: Malaysia Today

(The Malaysian Insider) – An innocuous written reply in Parliament has provided a peek into the cosy relationship between the Najib administration and Malaysia’s best-known businessman, Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar.. ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jun 15 2014, 12:56pm CDT

More From the Web

Update: 8

Constitutional monarchy still murky concept

Source: Malaysia Today

After the RM4.5 billion land sale, the Sultan of Johor secured a 15% stake in MOL Access Portal (MOL) for RM396 million and took a 20% s ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jun 14 2014, 12:37am CDT

Update: 7

Sultan of Johor’s RM4.5 bil backlash?

Source: Malaysia Today

49th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival
Has Sultan Ibrahim of Johor’s succession of big money deals over the last six months caused the tide of public opinion to turn against Johor’s royal palace? Kin ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jun 11 2014, 8:49am CDT

Update: 6

Putrajaya denies carpet dealer given interest-free loan

Source: Malaysia Today

Eileen Ng, The Malaysian Insider Putrajaya today refuted allegations that Bank Rakyat had allowed carpet dealer Deepak Jaikishan to repay a RM32 million loan without interest following intervention from a.. ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jun 11 2014, 5:44am CDT

Update: 5

Malaysia Spends Over $9 million on MH370 Hunt: Report

Source: NDTV

49th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival
Malaysia has so far spent about RM27.6 million (over $9 million) on search operations for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an offici ...
Source: NDTV   Full article at: NDTV Jun 9 2014, 3:12am CDT

Update: 4

Bill for Kidex likely to soar to RM3.4b

Source: Malaysia Today

The original RM2.4 billion tag on the proposed highway did not take into account the cost of acquiring the land mostly in the urban areas, claims an assemblywoman Fabian ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today Jun 9 2014, 2:51am CDT

Update: 3

MACC: No elements of graft in Bank Rakyat’s loan to businessman

Source: Malaysia Today

BET AWARDS '14 - Red Carpet
(Bernama) – The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) found no elements of corruption in Bank Rakyat’s RM32 million interest free loan to a businessman. MACC in a statement today said initial... ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today May 31 2014, 9:33am CDT

Update: 2

IHH Healthcare posts 25% rise in 1Q earnings to $62 mil

Source: The Edge Singapore

IHH Healthcare Berhad announced that revenue grew by 8% y-o-y to RM1.8 billion ($703 million) for 1Q2014 ended March, as earnings grew 25% YoY to RM159.1 million. Read mo ...
Source: The Edge Singapore   Full article at: The Edge Singapore May 29 2014, 11:29am CDT

Update: 1

Hasan Malek evades media over RM32 million Bank Rakyat loan scandal

Source: Malaysia Today

Elizabeth Zachariah, The Malaysian Insider The minister embroiled in the RM32 million Bank Rakyat loan scandal refused to take questions from the press today at an event i ...
Source: Malaysia Today   Full article at: Malaysia Today May 28 2014, 11:42pm CDT

Shopping Deals


<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/31" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.




blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

New leaked iPhone 6 Parts Reaffirms huge Redesign
New leaked iPhone 6 Parts Reaffirms huge Redesign
It’s not exactly a mystery at this point: Apple’s next-generation iPhone 6 and “iPhone Air” phablet will feature a huge redesign that represents a big departure from its current iPhone 5s and 5c models. According to...
Now you have another reason to avoid Samsung smartwatches
Now you have another reason to avoid Samsung smartwatches
Android Wear has the mobile development community very excited, but the hardware might not be ready for primetime quite yet. Reports have begun to circulate stating that the charging mechanism on Samsung...
Electric Cars are the New “IN” Thing in Formula E
Electric Cars are the New “IN” Thing in Formula E
Electric cars are indeed the new “in” thing on the motor sports scene.
Melanie Griffith To Remove her &quot;Antonio&quot; Tattoo
Melanie Griffith To Remove her "Antonio" Tattoo
Melanie Griffith has started removing her "Antonio" love heart tattoo permanently after deciding to take divorce from her husband Antonio Banderas.