After several weeks of spelunking through data, taking countless phone calls, scheduling tons of meetings, wordsmithing ideas, surviving paper cuts, and strategizing more than one would in a game of risk we've made it to the third stage of our work: preparing to deliver.

We started this innovation process by investigating the infrastructure systems throughout our city. Our goal during the first phase of our work was to identify some of the root causes of our city’s infrastructure challenges through research and interviews.

After identifying these issues, we began the second phase of our work: ideation. During ideation we held numerous meetings with internal and external stakeholders.  We also stepped outside of Syracuse’s borders and toured other cities, where we learned about their infrastructure systems and challenges. We had the opportunity to visit Minneapolis, Cincinnati, and Washington DC.

In addition to physical infrastructure systems, we discussed challenges surrounding construction coordination, open data, citizen reporting, asset management, and organizational structure. One of the takeaways from these trips was that no man is an island. Aging infrastructure is not a challenge that is exclusive to Syracuse. As we’ve said before in our post "Dear Cincy", we are can do this, we are not alone.

In recent weeks, we sorted through over 300 ideas and condensed them to a more manageable series of initiatives. We presented these preliminary ideas to the mayor, garnered her feedback, and then further refined them. Through this work we realized that our ideas are all interconnected, which lead us to this flowchart:

As we’ve expanded upon our ideas, this chart has undergone serious restructuring, or what we’d prefer to call, the “Logic Model Gauntlet”. This was a process that identified the specific infrastructure challenges that are addressed by each initiative, as well as the resources that are required for each initiative. We also identified metrics that will be used to track each initiative, and targets or goals that will allow us to determine if each initiative is successful.

After putting our ideas through the Logic Model Gauntlet, we predicted their feasibility and impact and plotted them on a graph which helped us to prioritize the initiatives.

So what now? Where do we go from here?

In the coming months, we’ll be giving some skin and bones to our work. In other words, we’ll determine what the initiatives will look like from start to finish. Our team will compose charters for the initiatives which will include timelines, key activities, metrics, risks, and other variables that are necessary to ensure proper initiative implementation.

There is still quite a bit of work ahead of us, but it is also very exciting. All too often we’re too close to our work to see that each small stroke we take helps to paint a bigger picture.  We know that the innovation process has many steps, but all of these steps will lead us to a meaningful final product.