United States


Sandy Stimpson


190,265 (2017)

Innovation Website
Lead Innovation Officer

Terrance Smith

Innovation is helping to:
  • Improve service delivery

  • Improve internal government operations

  • Simplify administrative procedures for firms and residents

Critical success factors:
  • Dedicated funding

  • Focus on measurement

  • Dedicated innovation team

  • Leadership from Mayor

  • Culture of innovation in city

  • Engagement with partners

  • Support from outside city administration

Spotlight on innovation in Mobile

Mobile created a comprehensive inventory of blighted structures within the municipality by using Instagram as a prototype. With the blight map, the inventory has enabled the city to laser focus its funds for redevelopment in specific areas for maximum impact.

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

Policy areas that Mobile is focused on

Economic Development
Policy areas by number of cities

Mobile utilizes 6 different innovation skills or roles

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

Situated in the Mayor’s office, Mobile’s dedicated team for innovation consists of 4 staff. The city recently hired a Data Analyst to balance out human-centered/qualitative approach.

Terms Mobile most associates with innovation

Human-centered design
Big picture re-thinking

Mobile's most common innovation activities

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

How is innovation funded here?

Like 81% of cities surveyed, Mobile 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.
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
Idea generation & brainstorming
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

Mobile also invests in digital systems as well as paying for services to a third party.

How is innovation measured?

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

Data availability by policy area


Sufficient data


Economic Development

Housing and built environment

Policing and law enforcement

Waste and sewage

Labour market and skills


Insufficient data




Social inclusion and equity

Digital governance

No Response

Environment and climate change


Public works