Kansas City

United States


David Alvey


165,288 (2017)

Innovation Website
Lead Innovation Officer

Alan Howze

Innovation is helping to:
  • Generate new sources of revenue

  • Improve service delivery

  • Improve internal government operations

Critical success factors:
  • Dedicated funding

  • Focus on measurement

  • Dedicated innovation team

  • Culture of innovation in city

Spotlight on innovation in Kansas City

Kansas City, Kansas collaborated with a local start-up, PayIt LLC, to develop a "myWyco" mobile payments app that also serves as a mobile 3-1-1 reporting tool for potholes, code violations, and more. The city also added state services, such as vehicle renewals, becoming one of the first in the nation to combine state and local services into one convenient, intuitive experience. Since launching in the fall of 2017, myWyco has increased online payments by over 35% and online revenue by 80%, while reducing labor and transaction costs. Over 75% of Americans own smartphones, and Kansas City is committed to offering simple and intuitive mobile experiences.

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

Policy areas that Kansas City is focused on

Policing and law enforcement
Policy areas by number of cities

Kansas City utilizes 3 different innovation skills or roles

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

As an independent body, Kansas City’s dedicated team for innovation is led by the Chief Knowledge Officer (CKO). The CKO manages a staff of 50. Among them, 8 staff are working for a performance and innovation team.

Terms Kansas City most associates with innovation

Data analytics
Human-centered design

Kansas City's most common innovation activities

Taking risks and testing new ideas
e.g. prototyping new programs or models to address a persistent city challenge
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
Rethinking approaches to financing and partnerships
e.g. new public-private-partnerships; collaboration with neighboring jurisdictions
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, Kansas City 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
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

Kansas City also invests in digital systems and physical infrastructure as well as paying for services to a third party.

How is innovation measured?

Kansas City has developed partnerships to promote its innovation capacity with other public agencies, private firms, not-for-profit organizations, and city residents/resident associations.

To improve data use, the city has also developed data partnerships with the private sector, 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

Housing and built environment

Policing and law enforcement



Waste and sewage

Social inclusion and equity

Digital governance

Insufficient data

Labour market and skills

Environment and climate change




No Response

Public works