Mayor Scott Announces New Investment From Bloomberg Philanthropies To Expand City Innovation Team

Crest of the City of Baltimore

Brandon M. Scott
Mayor,
Baltimore City
250 City Hall - Baltimore Maryland 21202
(410) 396-3835 - Fax: (410) 576-9425

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Support will help bolster the City's innovation unit to further efforts to lead with data, center residents in problem-solving, and tackle community challenges

BALTIMORE, MD & NEW YORK, NY (December 15, 2023) – Today, building on the City of Baltimore’s commitment to driving local government innovation, Mayor Brandon M. Scott announced that Bloomberg Philanthropies will provide Baltimore City with a new investment to expand its innovation team (i-team). The first-ever city to receive a second Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Innovation Team (i-team) program grant, the support will bolster dedicated staff capacity to help further Baltimore’s work to lead with data, center community input in problem-solving, and tackle tough challenges to improve resident outcomes.

As city governments face increasing global challenges, they require more creative and innovative thinking to confront them and move their communities forward. To help fill this need, the Bloomberg Philanthropies i-team program, part of the organization’s vast Government Innovation portfolio, brings human-centered design processes and data-informed tools to local governments around the world by increasing the number of dedicated staff and enhancing techniques to assess local needs, engage citizens, and strengthen service delivery. To date, the Bloomberg Philanthropies i-teams program has reached 57 cities across eight countries and four continents—representing over 52 million residents—and inspired hundreds of other local governments to embrace innovation systems, practices, and approaches.

"My entire administration is grounded in the idea that solving our biggest challenges requires new approaches and new ways of thinking. The Bloomberg Philanthropies i-team program helps us identify those innovative approaches and capitalize on them for the benefit of Baltimore,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “I am incredibly excited that our city is the first to receive this type of expansion of the I-team model, which is a real affirmation of the successful work we’ve been doing and the vision we’ve put forward. The Bloomberg Philanthropies team has always been an important partner to the city and I look forward to this new era of our partnership.”

“Baltimore has consistently utilized our support to build up its problem-solving capacity, working side-by-side with residents to take on difficult issues, advance progress, and measure results,” said James Anderson, who leads the Government Innovation program at Bloomberg Philanthropies. “The City continues to be a strong steward of local government innovation, and I look forward to seeing how the expanded i-team puts this new investment to work for public good.”

The i-team expansion builds on the ongoing efforts of the City’s existing i-team, which was established in 2017 with support from Bloomberg Philanthropies and ran through 2021—though the City secured public financing to continue to sustain it. Baltimore’s i-team played a critical role in designing a host of citywide initiatives, including the launch of an online performance dashboard for sanitation officials and during COVID-19, the i-team helped launch the Baltimore Health Corps—a 300-strong team of contact tracers, care coordinators, and vaccine ambassadors hired from among the 50,000 Baltimore community residents who lost their jobs in the first months of the pandemic. The team also supported new recruitment efforts for hard to hire positions.

The expanded Baltimore i-team will continue to include team members with specific skills including data analysis, insight development, human-centered design, systems thinking, and project management. The i-team will report directly to Faith Leach, the City’s Chief Administrative Officer, and provide regular updates to the Mayor on progress, ensuring it is positioned to fashion cross-sectoral responses that deliver measurable results.

The Scott Administration is laser focused on improving the delivery of city services for the residents of Baltimore, leveraging innovative strategies to improve service delivery and data to drive our decision making,” said Faith Leach, Baltimore City’s Chief Administrative Officer. “With Bloomberg Philanthropies’ innovation team investment, we are growing our capacity to drive improvements to the delivery chain for critical city issues.”

The i-team will be led by Terrance Smith, who joins the City with more than a decade of experience working with local governments as the Public Innovation Fellow at the Bloomberg Center for Public Innovation at Johns Hopkins University. Terrance previously served as the Chief Innovation Officer in the City of Mobile, Alabama, and drew local praise and national attention for developing agile solutions that helped to enhance residents’ quality of life.

“As the new Chief Innovation Officer of Baltimore, I believe that true progress in addressing public challenges lies in the power of public innovation,” said Terrance Smith, Baltimore City Chief Innovation Officer. “This team will help unlock insights that can shape innovative solutions by harnessing the lived experiences of those closest to the challenges. Together, we will embrace the opportunity to continue transforming this great American city, turning collective wisdom into actionable strategies that pave the way for safer neighborhoods and thriving communities."

The new support from Bloomberg Philanthropies also demonstrates Baltimore’s engagement and effectiveness as part of the Bloomberg Cities Network, including the City’s strong participation and collaboration with other cities through the Bloomberg Philanthropies What Works Cities Certification, the Bloomberg Philanthropies City Data Alliance, the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, and Bloomberg CityLab 2023—which featured the City’s partnership with the Squeegee Collaborative to help other cities learn how to work with community-based organizations and better community outcomes. As a part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies City Data Alliance, the City, under Mayor Scott’s leadership, designed a training curriculum that is helping more than 500 city staffers upskill their data proficiency and literacy. Baltimore officials continue to support peers in other local governments across the globe in sharing and spreading best practices among each other.

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