United States


Michael Hancock


693,060 (2016)

Innovation Website
Lead Innovation Officer

David Edinger

Innovation is helping to:
  • Simplify administrative procedures for firms and residents

  • Anticipate and manage future challenges

  • Improve internal government operations

Critical success factors:
  • Dedicated funding

  • Focus on measurement

  • Dedicated innovation team

  • Leadership from Mayor

  • Culture of innovation in city

Spotlight on innovation in Denver

Denver's Smart City program has focused on building the Enterprise Data Management system through four key principals: local control, open source, federal standards-based, and interoperability.

Vision and approach to innovation capacity

Along with 44% of cities surveyed, Denver has an explicit innovation strategy. Similar to 40% of cities surveyed, Denver approaches innovation capacity both from a holistic/macro level, as well as in specific policy areas.

Policy areas that Denver is focused on

Economic Development
Policy areas by number of cities

Denver utilizes 5 different innovation skills or roles

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

Situated in the Technology Services and Budget and Management Office, Denver’s Chief Information Officer, leads Peak Academy staff of 9 and Technology Services staff of 330.

Terms Denver most associates with innovation

Behavioral economics

Denver's most common innovation activities

Taking risks and testing new ideas
e.g. prototyping new programs or models to address a persistent city challenge
  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 sometimes also include data analytics; engaging residents in new ways; developing new solutions based on digital technologies; facilitating organisational change within the municipal administration; human-centred design; and rethinking the city’s approach to financing and partnerships.

How is innovation funded here?

Like 77% of cities surveyed, Denver 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

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

Denver also invests in digital systems and physical infrastructure as well as paying for service to a third party.

How is innovation measured?

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

Data availability by policy area


Sufficient data


Economic Development

Housing and built environment

Policing and law enforcement



Waste and sewage

Labour market and skills


Digital governance

Insufficient data

Environment and climate change

Social inclusion and equity



No Response

Public works