The City of Syracuse’s Department of Innovation was formed in 2015. The five person department, more commonly known as the i-team, develops innovative solutions to Syracuse’s most pressing problems. It leverages idea generation techniques and utilizes a structured, data-driven approach to affect change and deliver results within the city.
The i-team is based in city hall and reports to the Mayor, Ben Walsh. It serves as an in-house innovation consultant that focuses on different priority areas. The team works side-by-side with senior staff members and departments, however, it is outside of the typical municipal government hierarchy. This structure positions the i-team to coordinate across departments and achieve impactful results. Meet our team.
The i-team was established through an Innovation Delivery grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies for up to $1.35 million. The award provides funding to establish an office and hire personnel from 2015 through December 31, 2017. The grant also provides additional funding to research best practices in other cities. Guided by the Innovation Team Playbook, i-teams focus on one issue area at a time and follow a four step process emphasizing data-driven and human centered research. They work with partners to deeply understand the problem they are trying to solve by building empathy for the people impacted by it, and then work quickly and creatively to co-create and test solutions that deliver meaningful results for residents. Learn more about Bloomberg Philanthropies i-teams program here.
Priority One | Infrastructure
A vexing obstacle for Syracuse, and other cities like it across the nation, is the challenge of maintaining 20th century infrastructure that is often at the end of its useful life. The Syracuse i-team, under the direction of former Mayor Stephanie A. Miner, worked to develop a series of 13 initiatives to improve the city’s infrastructure. Learn more about these initiatives and the i-team's infrastructure work here.
Priority Two | Economic Opportunity: Housing & Neighborhoods
Individuals in our most impoverished neighborhoods struggle to find opportunities to improve quality of life for themselves and their families. One of the first steps to address this issue is to ensure that safe, healthy, affordable housing is available to residents. The City and i-team are currently working to reduce instability and transiency by improving housing and neighborhood conditions for our most vulnerable citizens. Learn more about this work here.
A key component of Bloomberg Philanthropies' i-teams program is to expand capacity and inspire a culture of innovation throughout City Hall. See some of the ways Syracuse is embracing City Innovation.
Stay connected with the team by following our blog posts, or contact us with any thoughts and ideas on how we can improve Syracuse.