United Kingdom


Sadiq Khan


9,000,000 (2019)

Lead Innovation Officers

Theo Blackwell, Michael Hurwitz

Innovation is helping to:
  • Improve service delivery

  • Improve internal government operations

  • Anticipate and manage future challenges

Critical success factors:
  • Dedicated funding

  • Focus on measurement

  • Dedicated innovation team

  • Leadership from Mayor

Spotlight on innovation in London

London is already a recognized leader in mobilizing open data for public benefit. Today, nearly half of all Londoners regularly use apps made publicly available through live data from Transport for London’s Unified API. In addition, the Greater London Authority plans to release a huge amount of data about the capital in the most user-friendly formats possible through its London Datastore. These data can be used to tackle some of London's most important challenges, such as road congestion and substandard air quality. The platform currently has 60,000 users each month and is home to 6,000 datasets.

Vision and approach to innovation capacity

Along with 50% of cities surveyed, London does not have an explicit innovation strategy. Similar to more than half of cities surveyed, London approaches innovation capacity both from a holistic/macro level, as well as in specific policy areas.

Policy areas that London is focused on

Digital governance

Transport: See example of open data made publicly available by Transport for London Unified API.

Digital Governance: In 2019, the city worked with London Councils, the representative body of London's 33 boroughs, to launch the new London Office of Technology & Innovation to enhance collaboration with 16 boroughs. It has provided the first ever audit of what technology powers local services in our city to improve buying and sharing.

Policy areas by number of cities

London utilizes 5 different innovation skills or roles

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

London’s innovation work is sprinkled throughout the municipal administration and is led by a Chief Digital Officer.

Terms London most associates with innovation

Human-centered design
Data analytics

London'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

How is innovation funded here?

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

Top sources of funding

International/multilateral institution budget
International/multilateral institution budget
This refers to resources from international and/or multilateral institutions’ budgets (i.e. European Union)
Central/federal/national government budget
Central/federal/national government budget
This refers to funding in the form of budget support to city authorities. Example: Stockholm (Sweden) launched the Hub for Innovation, a three-year long project funded by Sweden's National Innovation Authority, Vinnova in 2017. The hub supports a more innovative working culture within the city hall.
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.
External funding
External funding
This could include private, philanthropic/non-profit and/or academic/think tank resources.
Non-financial resources
Non-financial resources
This could include staff on loan and/or other in-kind contributions (e.g. materials, infrastructure…)

Activities being funded

Idea generation & brainstorming
Investing in digital systems
Investing in physical infrastructure
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

*"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?

London has developed partnerships to promote 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 academia and think tanks to collect and analyze data, as well as with other cities.

Data availability by policy area


Sufficient data


Social inclusion and equity

Social welfare/social services


Policing and law enforcement

Land use

Labour market and skills

Environment and climate change



Government finance

Digital governance


Built environment


Economic Development

Insufficient data

Waste and sewage

Public works

No Response