- Six startups will join Kansas City, MO’s 2018 Innovation Partnership Program, the city announced last week.
- The local startups — Geospiza, DogSpot, Homebase, Gridics LLC, Snorkel and Dynamhex — have an opportunity to work with city departments and test innovative solutions to urban problems, including areas like crisis response and increasing sewage system efficiency.
- "The Innovation Partnership Program asks the startup community and the City to work together to find sustainable solutions to improve services for our residents and visitors," Mayor Sly James said in a statement. "This is the exact type of collaboration that will ensure Kansas City continues to build on its momentum and become the world class city we know it can be."
This is the fourth year of the program, which will run for 13 weeks from August 1 until October 30 and give companies 20 hours of office space in City Hall each week. At the end, they will present their ideas to James, City Manager Troy Schulte and other attendees. Kansas City has long been regarded as a leader in urban innovation, and this program shows its commitment to try and bring the public and private sectors together to cooperate on solutions.
What is striking about this program is that each company is matched to a relevant city department. For example, the city’s public safety departments are matched with Geospiza, which uses data to help cities prepare for and respond to crises by giving them insight into vulnerabilities in the community. Other notable areas for innovation and new solutions are in city planning, affordable housing and municipal energy usage.
Such collaborations and competitions are growing in popularity nationwide. In New York City, Brooklyn-based startup accelerator URBAN-X has also taken on four cohorts of companies for a 20-week program to develop smart city-related products and solutions. As tech companies continue to have a large impact on people’s lives in urban areas, city leaders should look to tap into their expertise, while using local companies will mean that solutions are tailored to each jurisdiction’s specific needs.