Park Nam-chun


3,021,000 (2019)

Lead Innovation Officer

Choi Gi-Gun

Innovation is helping to:
  • Improve service delivery

  • Simplify administrative procedures for firms and residents

  • Improve internal government operations

Critical success factors:
  • Dedicated innovation team

  • Culture of innovation in city

  • Leadership from Mayor

Spotlight on innovation in Incheon

Building on the idea that citizens should play a more active role in policymaking, Incheon has expanded its scope of civic participation through the Incheon Metropolitan Participatory Budget System. The city has organized and implemented a budget process that is directly managed by the local residents’ council. Incheon also makes a concerted effort to provide accurate data and information that helps inform citizens’ decisions. This policy innovation enhances the transparency and accountability of local government, while also enabling the administration to be more responsive to the needs of residents.

Vision and approach to innovation capacity

Along with 50% of cities surveyed, Incheon has an explicit innovation strategy. Similar to more than half of cities surveyed, Incheon approaches innovation capacity both from a holistic/macro level, as well as in specific policy areas.

Policy areas that Incheon is focused on

Social welfare/social services
Resident engagement
Policy areas by number of cities

Incheon utilizes 2 different innovation skills or roles

Community engagement staff
Public Administration
Innovation roles by number of cities

As an independent department, Incheon’s dedicated innovation team consists of 10 staff.

Terms Incheon most associates with innovation

Behavioral economics
Resident engagement

Incheon's most common innovation activities

Promoting data-driven analytics / public data management
e.g. data storage/analytics; open data; big data
Engaging residents in new ways
Developing new solutions based on digital technologies
e.g. use of drones or smart sensors
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 81% of cities surveyed, Incheon 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

Investing in digital systems
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, Incheon'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?

Incheon has developed partnerships to promote innovation capacity with other public agencies and city residents/resident associations.

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

Data availability by policy area


Sufficient data

Government finance

Social inclusion and equity

Public works

Digital governance

Social welfare/social services

Land use

Insufficient data


Economic Development


Policing and law enforcement


Labour market and skills

Waste and sewage

Environment and climate change