United States


John Cranley


301,301 (2017)

Innovation Website
Lead Innovation Officer

Nicollette Staton

Innovation is helping to:
  • Improve internal government operations

  • Improve service delivery

  • Simplify administrative procedures for firms and residents

Critical success factors:
  • Dedicated funding

  • Focus on measurement

  • Dedicated innovation team

Spotlight on innovation in Cincinnati

Cincinnati’s innovation strategy has moved away from a "lean six sigma"/anti-tech model to more technology-oriented model as technology is often a component of the solution. The city’s innovation strategy focuses on being realistic about the role of technology in process enhancement/improvement while still ensuring that tech solutions are human-centric (and process-appropriate).

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

Policy areas that Cincinnati is focused on

Policing and law enforcement
Policy areas by number of cities

Cincinnati utilizes 3 different innovation skills or roles

Project manager
Data scientist
Innovation roles by number of cities

Situated in the City Manager’s office, Cincinnati’s dedicated team for innovation consists of 6 staff.

Terms Cincinnati most associates with innovation

Data analytics
Foresight, scenario planning

Cincinnati'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
  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

Its innovation activities also include engaging residents in new ways and developing new solutions based on digital technologies.

How is innovation funded here?

Like 81% of cities surveyed, Cincinnati 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
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

Cincinnati also invests in digital systems.

How is innovation measured?

Cincinnati has developed partnerships to promote its innovation capacity with other public agencies. To improve data use, the city has also developed data partnerships with other cities.

Data availability by policy area


Sufficient data


Economic Development

Housing and built environment

Policing and law enforcement


Waste and sewage

Environment and climate change

Social inclusion and equity

Digital governance

Public works


Insufficient data

Labour market and skills