Fort Collins

United States


Wade Troxell


165,080 (2017)

Innovation Website
Lead Innovation Officer

Sean Carpenter

Innovation is helping to:
  • Improve internal government operations

  • Anticipate and manage future challenges

  • Improve service delivery

Critical success factors:
  • Focus on measurement

  • Leadership from Mayor

  • Leadership from City Manager

  • Culture of innovation in city

  • Support from outside city administration

Spotlight on innovation in Fort Collins

Fort Collins is a founding member of the Colorado Smart City Alliance, a consortium of 14 Colorado Cities, partnered with Universities and Arrow Electronics, among others. Fort Collins has an open data initiative that the cities are building out as well as a “City as a Platform” task force, designed to promote co-creation and innovation.

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

Policy areas that Fort Collins is focused on

Economic Development
Policy areas by number of cities

Innovation skills or roles

Fort Collins does not have a dedicated team for innovation. However, the city has a process improvement team housed in the finance department, as well as two staff in the City Manager’s Office dedicated to efficiency and operational excellence. In addition, there are staff in the Economic Health Office that are researching and advocating for dedicated innovation teams and processes.

Innovation roles by number of cities

Terms Fort Collins most associates with innovation

Technological innovation

Fort Collins' 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
  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 taking risks and testing new ideas; and promoting data-driven analytics.

How is innovation funded here?

Like 81% of cities surveyed, Fort Collins has dedicated funding to support innovation capacity.

Top sources of funding

Higher levels of government
national and provincialbudgets
Municipal budget
city council approved funds/participatory budgeting
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.

Activities being funded

Launching or sustaining a project
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

Fort Collins also invests in digital systems and physical infrastructure.

How is innovation measured?

Fort Collins has developed partnerships to promote its innovation capacity with other public agencies, private firms, and not-for-profit organizations.

To improve data use, the city has also developed data partnerships with academia, think tanks, and private philanthropy to collect and analyze data, as well as with other cities.

Data availability by policy area


Sufficient data


Economic Development

Labour market and skills

Environment and climate change

Insufficient data

Housing and built environment


Social inclusion and equity

Digital governance

No Response

Policing and law enforcement


Waste and sewage



Public works