United States


Jorge Elorza


180,393 (2017)

Innovation Website
Lead Innovation Officer

Emmanuel Echevarria

Innovation is helping to:
  • Improve internal government operations

  • Save costs and improve efficiency within the public sector

  • Simplify administrative procedures for firms and residents

Critical success factors:
  • Focus on measurement

  • Human resource support

  • Leadership from Mayor

  • Culture of innovation in city

  • Support from outside city administration

Spotlight on innovation in Providence

Providence’s Innovation Department holds LEAN training quarterly to employees throughout the City to offer professional development and spread a culture of innovation. The LEAN trainings have shown great return on investment as the cohorts have exceeded the planned estimate by 423%. The training focuses on process improvement and capacity building for metrics and data measurement, recognizing that being more data-driven offers better results.

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, Providence does not have an explicit innovation strategy. Similar to 20% of cities surveyed, Providence approaches innovation capacity from a holistic/macro level.

Policy areas that Providence is focused on

Providence does not prioritise policy sectors for its innovation work.

Policy areas by number of cities

Providence utilizes 4 different innovation skills or roles

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

Situated in the Information Technology (IT) department, Providence’s innovation work is being led by the Chief Innovation and Performance Officer, and 2 staff members.

Terms Providence most associates with innovation

Data analytics
Process improvement

Providence's most common innovation activities

Taking risks and testing new ideas
e.g. prototyping new programs or models to address a persistent city challenge
  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 engaging residents in new ways; facilitating organizational change within the municipal administration; promoting human-centered design; and rethinking the city’s approach to financing and partnerships.

How is innovation funded here?

Like 81% of cities surveyed, Providence 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.

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

Providence also invests in digital systems.

How is innovation measured?

Providence 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 partnerships with academia, think tanks, and 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

Labour market and skills

Environment and climate change



Social inclusion and equity

Digital governance

Insufficient data




No Response

Public works