United States


Catherine Pugh


611,648 (2017)

Innovation Website
Lead Innovation Officer

Dan Hymowitz

Innovation is helping to:
  • Improve service delivery

  • Save costs and improve efficiency within the public sector

  • Simplify administrative procedures for firms and residents

Critical success factors:
  • Dedicated funding

  • Focus on measurement

  • Dedicated innovation team

Spotlight on innovation in Baltimore

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh tasked her Innovation Office (i-team) with helping the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) recruit and hire police officers. The i-team first conducted extensive research, including engaging over 120 community members and 60 BPD officers through workshops, surveys and interviews. The i-team is working with the BPD to develop initiatives based on findings from this research. A few key initiatives include:

  • Modernizing BPD hiring processes, including introducing an online application. This has led to a fourfold increase in applications.
  • Introducing a new exam which uses videos of policing scenarios to assess candidates for characteristics needed for constitutional, community-oriented policing.
  • Piloting a free fitness bootcamp that helps applicants train for the BPD’s physical agility test. Half of participants in this program, all women, later successfully passed the test.

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, Baltimore does not have an explicit innovation strategy. Similar to 24% of cities surveyed, Baltimore approaches innovation capacity in specific policy areas/domains.

Policy areas that Baltimore is focused on

Policing and law enforcement
Digital governance
Policy areas by number of cities

Baltimore utilizes 5 different innovation skills or roles

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

Baltimore’s innovation work is sprinkled throughout the municipality and led by 10 staff. In particular, there is a team dedicated to innovation within the Mayor’s Office

Terms Baltimore most associates with innovation

Technological innovation
Resident engagement

Baltimore's most common innovation activities

Promoting data-driven analytics / public data management
e.g. data storage/analytics; open data; big data
Developing new solutions based on digital technologies
e.g. use of drones or smart sensors
  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

How is innovation funded here?

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

Top sources of funding

Higher levels of government
Municipal budget
Municipal budget
This could include, for instance, City Council approved funds; operating budget; a special funding process (bond, Mayoral special initiative funding, etc.); and participatory budgeting / citizen-selected budgeting.
External funding
External funding
This could include private, philanthropic/non-profit and/or academic/think tank resources.

Activities being funded

Launching or sustaining a project
Idea generation & brainstorming
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

Baltimore also invests in digital systems and physical infrastructure.

How is innovation measured?

Baltimore has developed partnerships to promote its innovation capacity with other public agencies, not-for-profit organisations, and city residents/resident associations.

To improve data use, the city has also developed data partnerships with the private sector, academia, think tanks, and private philanthropy to collect and analyze data.

Data availability by policy area


Sufficient data


Housing and built environment

Policing and law enforcement



Insufficient data


Digital governance

No Response

Economic Development


Waste and sewage

Labour market and skills

Environment and climate change

Social inclusion and equity

Public works