Partnerships, Efficiency & Transparency in Government

How can the City expand digital offerings, increase communications capacity and reduce costs?

PHOTO: BEN MARKER

2017 CASE STUDY: INNOVATION FUND

A city’s ability to generate innovative ideas that solve major challenges and improve city life depends on its ability to find innovative new ways to get work done. Therefore, as part of the WeHoX Technology and Innovation program, City Council approved the West Hollywood Innovation Fund in December 2015 to launch in FY16-17. This $50,000 internal City innovation fund provides small grants for pilot projects that demonstrate innovative solutions to existing civic challenges.

From 2016-2017, the Innovation Fund provided grants to seven projects, across a range of departments, including: Economic Development, Community Development, Human Services and Rent Stabilization, and Communications.  The Innovation Fund expanded the breadth of engagement and communications tools City departments typically use in a variety of ways.  Innovation Fund projects include the following:

  • The Aging in Place plan was transformed “beyond the PDF” to become an interactive age-friendly website that readers of any age can easily access and digest;
  • User-centered graphic design transformed a stale public meeting notice placard into an attractive easy-to-read visual poster that provides community members with the important information they need about upcoming development projects; and
  • Social service offerings will be highlighted in bite-sized, social media friendly videos with the help of an animator/videographer to reach out to new audiences.

The Innovation Fund has been successful in launching innovative staff-driven ideas that improve how the City conducts its business, delivers services, and engages with its stakeholders. In the upcoming year, the Innovation Division will work to increase the breadth of projects awarded, range of ideas generated, and to seek more hardware and technology solutions that can help with challenges within and outside of City Hall.

PHOTO: KATE MANOS

2016 CASE STUDY: INNOVATION ACADEMY

As part of the WeHoX program’s focus on developing a culture of civic innovation at City Hall, the City launched the WeHoX Innovation Academy for city staff. Civic innovation academies and civic innovation training programs are a way to create a more effective government through engaged, informed and proactive employees across diverse departments. In partnership with verynice, a global design-strategy consultancy, the City developed a training program for 16 staff members, with representatives from every Department in City Hall.

The goal of the Innovation Academy was to teach city employees about the principles of innovation, seeding a cross-departmental cohort of innovators. The objectives were to generate cross-departmental collaboration and ideas sharing, spread innovation principles throughout the organization, and solve municipal challenges by focusing on innovation research methods, strategic planning, design strategy, integrated design processes, systems design, and innovation leadership. The training was designed to provide a structural backbone behind the obscure processes of creative thinking, a topic not usually found in civic lexicons.