Valérie Plante


2,030,000 (2018)

Innovation Website
Lead Innovation Officer

Stéphane Guidoin

Innovation is helping to:
  • Improve service delivery

  • Improve resident outcomes

  • Anticipate and manage future challenges

Critical success factors:
  • Dedicated funding

  • Focus on measurement

  • Dedicated innovation team

  • Support from outside city administration

  • Human resource support

  • Leadership from Mayor

Spotlight on innovation in Montreal

An initiative currently in its pilot phase, CityStudio Montreal serves as a bridge connecting city staff expertise and student creativity to tackle complex urban issues. The initiative matches urban problems identified by city staff with courses at partner universities, providing public servants and students with a chance to work together to co-create and prototype their innovative solutions. CityStudio Montreal serves as a unique method to strengthen civic participation and resident engagement by creating meaningful collaboration aimed at improving the community.

Vision and approach to innovation capacity

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

Policy areas that Montreal is focused on

Digital governance

Transport/mobility: The Montreal Urban Innovation Lab is currently coordinating several transportation and mobility pilot projects. The autonomous vehicle pilot project aims to acquire the necessary knowledge of new types of vehicles that could impact the way we view mobility and use vehicles in the city. Beyond the simple technological evaluation of the maturity of this type of vehicle, their objective is to determine ways in which these vehicles can contribute to improving the urban ecosystem from a sustainable mobility perspective while meeting residents' needs. Through the Smart City Challenge which the city won in 2019, Montreal also experiments with several types of very local mobility projects as well as an Integrated Mobility project which aims to promote user autonomy and facilitate mobility with a new open digital platform. It combines many modes of transportation already available in the Greater Montreal Area and allows users to easily access these various services, thanks to a simplified pricing approach. It also includes implementing a single mobility account, linked to a shared civic identity.

Digital governance: For several years now, the Lab has been working towards greater accessibility of data by managing an open data platform and accompanying different services of the city toward open data. The idea is to promote the collective use of data as well as the transparency of the government apparatus both internally and externally. Montreal support data users and encourage the community to leverage the city's data in order to generate the maximum amount of social and economic value.

Policy areas by number of cities

Montreal utilizes 8 different innovation skills or roles

Project manager
Communication officer
Community engagement staff
Data scientist
Business analyst
Change management advisor
Innovation roles by number of cities

Situated in the City Manager’s office, Montreal Urban Innovation Lab is divided into 3 units: Open Data, Smart Cities, and Innovation and Experimentation which consist of 18 staff.

Terms Montreal most associates with innovation

Big picture re-thinking

Montreal'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
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

How is innovation funded here?

Like 81% of cities surveyed, Montreal 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.
Regional/State/Province/Territorial budget
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

Idea generation & brainstorming
Paying for services
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, Montreal'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?

Montreal 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 the private sector, academia and think tanks, to collect and analyze data, as well as with other cities.

Data availability by policy area


Sufficient data


Economic Development

Housing and built environment

Waste and sewage

Labour market and skills

Environment and climate change


Land use

Public works

Government finance



Social inclusion and equity

Social welfare/social services

Insufficient data

Digital governance

Policing and law enforcement

No Response