Bloomington, IN

United States


John Hamilton


84,981 (2019)

Innovation Website
Lead Innovation Officer

Devta Kidd

Innovation is helping to:
  • Improve internal government operations

  • Improve service delivery

  • Engage residents by soliciting and analying feedback on pilot projects

Critical success factors:
  • Dedicated funding

  • Focus on measurement

  • Culture of innovation in city

  • Engagement with partners

  • Support from outside city administration

  • Leadership from Mayor

  • strong data collection and analysis skills within the organization

Spotlight on innovation in Bloomington, IN

Bloomington’s innovation strategy focuses on building a culture that is comfortable with risk, engages residents, and brings efficiencies to public service. Bloomington has installed smart water meters that allow residents to monitor usage in real time, lowering both waste and costs. The city has also partnered with a civic coding group to set up a “Twitter Bot” that automatically pulls animal profiles from the city shelter database and publishes them on social media. The bot requires no maintenance from shelter employees, and has led to a 7% increase in furry friends finding happy homes.

Vision and approach to innovation capacity

Along with 50% of cities surveyed, Bloomington, IN has an explicit innovation strategy. Similar to more than half of cities surveyed, Bloomington, IN approaches innovation capacity both from a holistic/macro level, as well as in specific policy areas.

Policy areas that Bloomington, IN is focused on

Environment and climate change
Public works
Economic Development

See examples of Smart water meters (Water); Pavement Condition Survey and Sign Assessment Project to subjectively evaluate road, sidewalk surfaces and street signs (Public Works); diverting compostable waste from the landfill and using it to generate compressed natural gas for use in city-owned vehicles (Climate change); and establishing Bloomington as a community development financial institutions friendly city (Economic Development)

Policy areas by number of cities

Bloomington, IN utilizes 5 different innovation skills or roles

Project manager
Communication officer
Organization development
Process improvement
Change management
Innovation roles by number of cities

Situated within the Mayor’s office, Bloomington’s dedicated innovation staff currently consists of a Director of Innovation.

Terms Bloomington, IN most associates with innovation

Resident engagement
Process improvement

Bloomington, IN'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
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, Bloomington, IN has dedicated funding to support innovation capacity.

Top sources of funding

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.

Activities being funded

Investing in digital systems
Investing in physical infrastructure
Paying for services
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

Similar to 61% of participating cities in the 2020 survey, Bloomington's funding for innovation capacity is also directed towards training staff and building capacity*.

*"Training staff and building capacity" is not an option in the 2018 survey, while "Launching or sustaining a project" is not an option in the 2020 survey.

How is innovation measured?

Bloomington has developed partnerships to promote innovation capacity with other public agencies, private firms, not-for-profit organizations, and city residents/resident associations.

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

Data availability by policy area


Sufficient data

Government finance

Environment and climate change

Public works

Insufficient data

Social welfare/social services

Built environment

Waste and sewage


Social inclusion and equity

Policing and law enforcement


Environment and climate change

Labour market and skills

Economic Development



No Response


Digital governance

Land use