United States


Ethan Berkowitz


298,192 (2016)

Innovation Website
Lead Innovation Officer

Brendan Babb

Innovation is helping to:
  • Improve service delivery

  • Improve internal government operations

  • Save costs and improve efficiency within the public sector

  • Improve resident outcomes

Critical success factors:
  • Dedicated funding

  • Focus on measurement

  • Dedicated innovation team

  • Leadership from Mayor

  • Support from outside city administration

Spotlight on innovation in Anchorage

Anchorage has developed several innovative projects through a series of philanthropic and non-profit partnerships. Its innovation team collaborated with a non-profit organization, Code for America, and more than 30 other non-profits to develop a web site – Start Here Anchorage – for helping citizens prepare for and look for a job. In addition, the innovation team coordinated with the Behavioral Insights Team (BIT) on a project called Letterpalooza, which was aimed at improving the clarity of government letters and resulted in an estimated $1 million of additional revenues for the city.

Note: The City Innovation Snapshot (PDF version) was produced in 2019 and some aggregate findings have been updated with the latest survey results below.

Vision and approach to innovation capacity

Along with 50% of cities surveyed, Anchorage does not have an explicit innovation strategy. Similar to more than half of cities surveyed, Anchorage approaches innovation capacity both from a holistic/macro level, as well as in specific policy areas.

Policy areas that Anchorage is focused on

Social welfare/social services
Policy areas by number of cities

Anchorage utilizes 4 different innovation skills or roles

Project manager
Data scientist
Community engagement staff
Innovation roles by number of cities

Situated in the Mayor’s office, Anchorage’s dedicated team for innovation (i-team) consists of 4 staff.

Terms Anchorage most associates with innovation

Human-centered design

Anchorage's most common innovation activities

Taking risks and testing new ideas
e.g. prototyping new programs or models to address a persistent city challenge
Promoting data-driven analytics / public data management
e.g. data storage/analytics; open data; big data
Rethinking approaches to financing and partnerships
e.g. new public-private-partnerships; collaboration with neighboring jurisdictions
  1. 1

    Taking risks or testing new ideas

  2. 2

    Data-driven analytics/public data management

  3. 3

    Engaging residents in new ways

  4. 4

    Developing new solutions based on digital technologies

  5. 5

    Organizational change within the municipality

  6. 6

    Human-centered design

  7. 7

    Rethinking your city’s approach to financing partnerships

Its innovation activities also include engaging residents in new ways and facilitating organizational change within the municipal administration.

How is innovation funded here?

Like 81% of cities surveyed, Anchorage has dedicated funding to support innovation capacity.

Top sources of funding

Non-public funding

Activities being funded

Launching or sustaining a project
47 cities
Launching or sustaining a project
79 cities
Idea generation & brainstorming
51 cities
Investing in digital systems
36 cities
Investing in physical infrastructure
30 cities
Paying for services

How is innovation measured?

Anchorage has developed partnerships to promote its innovation capacity with public agencies, philanthropy, and city residents/resident associations.

To improve data use, the city has also developed data partnerships with academia and think tanks to collect and analyze data, as well as with other cities.

Data availability by policy area


Sufficient data

Economic Development

Housing and built environment

Policing and law enforcement


Waste and sewage

Environment and climate change

Insufficient data


Labour market and skills


Social welfare/social services


Digital governance

No Response



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