Cape Town

South Africa


Dan Plato


3,740,026 (2011)

Lead Innovation Officer

Craig Kesson

Innovation is helping to:
  • Improve internal government operations

  • Save costs and improve efficiency within the public sector

  • Improve service delivery

  • Improve resident outcomes

  • Simplify administrative procedures for firms and residents

  • Anticipate and manage future challenges

  • Service current obligations

Critical success factors:
  • Dedicated innovation team

  • Leadership from Mayor

  • Culture of innovation in city

  • Support from outside city administration

  • Human resource support

Spotlight on innovation in Cape Town

Cape Town has committed itself to the creation of an innovation platform in its five-year Integrated Development Plan (IDP). The new platform promotes innovative, design-led approaches to service delivery and effective engagement with customers on matters that affect them. The platform links up with existing areas of excellence in the City and drives further collaboration with external stakeholders and creates avenues for the sourcing of innovative ideas from citizens in order to deliver relevant and increasingly innovative services for them.

Vision and approach to innovation capacity

Along with 44% of cities surveyed, Cape Town has an explicit innovation strategy. Similar to over one-third of cities surveyed, Cape Town approaches innovation capacity in specific policy areas/domains.

Policy areas that Cape Town is focused on

Digital governance
Social inclusion and equity
Resource efficiency
Excellence in basic service delivery
Policy areas by number of cities

Cape Town utilizes 4 different innovation skills or roles

Project manager
Communication officer
Community engagement staff
Innovation roles by number of cities

Cape Town’s innovation work is being led by the Organisational Effectiveness and Innovation Department and innovation related-task groups with delegates from different departments within the municipality.

Terms Cape Town most associates with innovation

Technological innovation
Human-centered design

Cape Town's most common innovation activities

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

How is innovation funded here?

Like 77% of cities surveyed, Cape Town 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

Launching or sustaining a project
Idea generation & brainstorming
55 cities
Launching or sustaining a project
53 cities
Idea generation & brainstorming
3 cities
Investing in digital systems
2 cities
Investing in physical infrastructure
2 cities
Paying for services

Cape Town also hosts a series of workshops on Design-led Thinking; Lean or Six Sigma; Six Thinking Hats.

How is innovation measured?

Cape Town has developed partnerships to promote its innovation capacity with other public agencies and not-for-profit organisations.

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

Labour market and skills

Environment and climate change


Social inclusion and equity


Digital governance

No Response


Public works