United States


Andy Berke



Lead Innovation Officer

Tim Moreland

Innovation is helping to:
  • Improve service delivery

  • Improve internal government operations

  • Improve resident outcomes

Critical success factors:
  • Dedicated funding

  • Focus on measurement

  • Dedicated innovation team

  • Leadership from Mayor

Spotlight on innovation in Chattanooga

Chattanooga has put a strong emphasis on grounding its decision-making in data analytics and evidence to improve the well-being of all citizens. To address the issue of veteran homelessness, Chattanooga used data to rapidly identify housing options and place homeless veterans in appropriate homes. The program was so successful that Chattanooga is now expanding the model to rapidly find housing for all homeless individuals.

Vision and approach to innovation capacity

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

Policy areas that Chattanooga is focused on


Housing and Homelessness: Chattanooga was able to effectively end veteran homelessness in the city by using data to iteratively improve their rapid housing capabilities. This was done by building a strong coalition and using data to learn and improve as the program developed. The program was so successful that the city is now working to do the same for all homeless individuals, using a rapid housing first model. The city's team regularly employs lean methods they learn in the city's Peak Academy to improve the systems efficiency and effectiveness.

Transport/Mobility: Using the city's fiber network, the transportation department has been able to integrate smart sensors and traffic controls downtown and is now extending that work outside the city's core. The transportation department has also created a smart cities test bed in partnership with our local university UTC as a way to test and learn from and deploy smart cities technologies. A core component of this work is increasing the transportation departments data skills and tools. The city has been using sensor data from the Waze network to identify congested networks and begin testing different signal times to make the system more effective and safe.

Policy areas by number of cities

Chattanooga utilizes 6 different innovation skills or roles

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

Situated within the Mayor’s office, Chattanooga’s dedicated innovation team consists of 6 staff.

Terms Chattanooga most associates with innovation

Data analytics

Chattanooga's most common innovation activities

Facilitating organizational change within the municipality
e.g. silo-busting; new internal performance management; staff training and capacity building on innovation tools or techniques; reforms to contracting or procurement
Promoting data-driven analytics / public data management
e.g. data storage/analytics; open data; big data
  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, Chattanooga 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.

Activities being funded

Idea generation & brainstorming
Investing in digital systems
Investing in physical infrastructure
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, Chattanooga'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?

Chattanooga has developed partnerships to promote innovation capacity with other public agencies, not-for-profit organizations, 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

Labour market and skills

Environment and climate change

Social welfare/social services

Land use

Public works

Government finance




Social inclusion and equity

Built environment

Insufficient data


Digital governance