- The Governance Lab (The GovLab) at New York University Tandon School of Engineering and the Bertelsmann Foundation have launched the online People-Led Innovation toolkit to help local governments innovate, address public challenges and improve people's lives.
- The report offers step-by-step guidance for policymakers to leverage the sometimes overlooked asset of people and their expertise, covering areas such as identifying problems, defining problems, mapping expertise, data-driven insights, user testing and evaluating impact.
- The GovLab and the Bertelsmann Foundation are soliciting collaborations with city governments to implement the People-Led Innovation toolkit and assess its effectiveness.
In an era when the idea of "innovation" takes center stage for many businesses and governments, that can often become synonymous with "technology." But the two are not synonymous. People and their skill sets are the forces that create technology and drive innovation.
The People-Led Innovation toolkit points out that cities are addressing complex and dynamic environmental and societal challenges that previously were left for state or national governments, such as terrorism, climate change and the future of work. Tackling big global issues is a much discussed theme among local leaders, having dominated a session at last summer's Chicago Forum on Global Cities. And leaders including Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Tulsa, OK Mayor G.T. Bynum have talked about the importance of people-focused approaches when examining the future of work in cities.
The new guide notes that leaders are searching for new tools and methods to harness their "people" asset to solve problems by unlocking citizen and stakeholder knowledge and expertise. The report is designed to provide such guidance. The toolkit recognizes that each city is different and each person's contributions to innovative solutions are different, yet all are valuable for solving problems.