Scottsdale, AZ

United States


W. J. "Jim" Lane


255,310 (2018)

Lead Innovation Officer

Brent Stockwell

Innovation is helping to:
  • Simplify administrative procedures for firms and residents

  • Improve internal government operations

  • Improve service delivery

Critical success factors:
  • Dedicated funding

  • Focus on measurement

  • Dedicated innovation team

  • Culture of innovation in city

  • Engagement with partners

Spotlight on innovation in Scottsdale, AZ

Scottsdale’s High Performance and Innovation initiative has institutionalized the use of metrics and project review to encourage evidence-based decision-making. The team uses a four-step cycle for each initiative: plan (define results through benchmarks), do (execute the plan), review (assess results through surveys and data analytics), and revise (adjust goals and approaches). To execute its vision, Scottsdale also splits its innovation staff into four designated sub-teams: benchmarking, data analytics, process improvement, and behavioral insights. This division of labor and clarity of roles supports efficient execution of projects. Scottsdale also publishes a brief annual report highlighting key initiatives and fostering a citizen-centric focus.

Vision and approach to innovation capacity

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

Policy areas that Scottsdale, AZ is focused on

Social welfare/social services
Digital governance

Social Welfare: Scottsdale partnered with the Behavioral Insights Team to increase donations to the program "Scottsdale Cares" by using Behaviorally Informed evidence to fundraise via an email campaign. The email spurred recipients to donate via their utility bill. Different messages were randomly assigned to recipients and A/B tests were conducted to identify which message increased likelihood of donation.

Digital Governance: The city has also adopted an internal Open Data Program administrative regulation that "support[s] the city's practice of evidence-based decision-making by establishing standard policies and procedures to implement an Open Data Program including the creation and maintenance of a Portal where the city's Publishable Data will be publicly available online."

Policy areas by number of cities

Scottsdale, AZ utilizes 5 different innovation skills or roles

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

Scottsdale’s innovation efforts are sprinkled throughout the organisation. While having no dedicated innovation staff, Scottsdale’s cross-departmental High Performance and Innovation initiative is championed by the Assistant City Manager and is led by 2 other staff.

Terms Scottsdale, AZ most associates with innovation

Behavioral economics
Planning for the future

Scottsdale, AZ's most common innovation activities

Promoting data-driven analytics / public data management
e.g. data storage/analytics; open data; big data
Developing new solutions based on digital technologies
e.g. use of drones or smart sensors
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
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

How is innovation funded here?

Like 81% of cities surveyed, Scottsdale, AZ 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.
External funding
External funding
This could include private, philanthropic/non-profit and/or academic/think tank resources.

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, Scottsdale'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?

Scottsdale 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 private philanthropy, academia and think tanks, to collect and analyze data, as well as with other cities.

Data availability by policy area


Sufficient data

Economic Development



Labour market and skills

Government finance

Waste and sewage

Environment and climate change

Policing and law enforcement

Social inclusion and equity



Digital governance

Public works

Social welfare/social services


Land use

Built environment

No Response