United States


Suzanne Jones


107,125 (2017)

Lead Innovation Officer

Julia Richman

Innovation is helping to:
  • Improve internal government operations

  • Anticipate and manage future challenges

  • Improve service delivery

  • Improve resident outcomes

  • Simplify administrative procedures for firms and residents

  • Generate new sources of revenue

Critical success factors:
  • Dedicated funding

  • Focus on measurement

  • Dedicated innovation team

  • Leadership from Mayor

  • Culture of innovation in city

  • Engagement with partners

  • Support from outside city administration

Spotlight on innovation in Boulder

Boulder is currently working to develop a coherent strategy for innovation to guide the city’s targeted investments, prioritize initiatives, and continue leading-edge operations. The city’s innovation work is guided by its vision to improve city effectiveness through data-driven decision-making, operational efficiency, building a culture of innovation, engaging community as resource, exceeding constituent expectations.

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, Boulder has an explicit innovation strategy. Similar to 20% of cities surveyed, Boulder approaches innovation capacity from a holistic/macro level.

Policy areas that Boulder is focused on

Boulder does not prioritise policy sectors for its innovation work.

Policy areas by number of cities

Boulder utilizes 5 different innovation skills or roles

Data analyst
Business analyst
Innovation and analytics manager
Open data manager
Economic development advisor
Innovation roles by number of cities

Boulder has a standalone department dedicated to innovation and technology. The innovation team consists of 6 staff. The Chief Innovation and Technology officer also leads the enterprise technology function with over 40 staff.

Terms Boulder most associates with innovation

Data analytics
Resident engagement

Boulder's most common innovation activities

Engaging residents in new ways
  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, Boulder has dedicated funding to support innovation capacity.

Top sources of funding

Municipal budget
(city council approved funds/operating 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.
Non-financial resources
(staff on loan/in-kind contributions)
Non-financial resources
This could include staff on loan and/or other in-kind contributions (e.g. materials, infrastructure…)

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

Boulder also funds paying for services from a third party.

How is innovation measured?

Boulder has developed partnerships to promote its innovation capacity within the city administration, other levels of government, public agencies, private firms, not-for-profit organizations, and residents/resident associations. It also has partnerships with academia/think tanks.

Data availability by policy area


Sufficient data


Economic Development

Housing and built environment

Policing and law enforcement

Environment and climate change

Digital governance

No Response



Labour market and skills

Waste and sewage



Social inclusion and equity

Public works