Federico Gutiérrez


2,500,000 (2017)

Lead Innovation Officer

Paula Zapata

Innovation is helping to:
  • Generate new sources of revenue

  • Improve resident outcomes

Critical success factors:
  • Dedicated funding

  • Focus on measurement

  • Dedicated innovation team

  • Engagement with partners

  • Support from outside city administration

Spotlight on innovation in Medellin

Medellin has a triple helix collaboration between the public sector, the private sector, and academia. Every month the presidents from the main companies in the city, along with officers from the public sector and the headmasters of the universities get together at the University, State and Enterprise Committee (CUEE) to find common points and join efforts towards achieving greater economic development for the city.

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

Policy areas that Medellin is focused on

Economic Development
Social inclusion and equity
Policy areas by number of cities

Medellin utilizes 7 different innovation skills or roles

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

As an independent body, Medellin’s dedicated team for innovation is led by the Executive Director, which consists of more than 100 people.

Terms Medellin most associates with innovation

Big picture re-thinking

Medellin's most common innovation activities

Engaging residents in new ways
Human-centered design
e.g. prioritizing the end-user at each stage of the design process
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

Its innovation activities also include facilitating organizational change within the municipal administration.

How is innovation funded here?

Like 81% of cities surveyed, Medellin 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.
Innovative financing tools
e.g. Social Impact Bonds, Crowdsourcing
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

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

How is innovation measured?

Medellin 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, and think tanks to collect and analyze data.

Data availability by policy area


Sufficient data


Policing and law enforcement


Waste and sewage


Insufficient data

Housing and built environment


Labour market and skills

Environment and climate change


Social inclusion and equity


No Response

Economic Development

Public works

Digital governance