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Spotlight on innovation in Worcester, MA
The city of Worcester has focused its innovation efforts on certain areas, including the built environment, digital governance, and climate change. It recently installed 14,000 smart LED lights, which are managed by a centralized system that can notify officials of a technical issue or easily adjust brightness. This change should lead to a reduction in energy consumption, while also improving safety.
Vision and approach to innovation capacity
Along with 50% of cities surveyed, Worcester, MA does not have an explicit innovation strategy. Similar to more than half of cities surveyed, Worcester, MA approaches innovation capacity both from a holistic/macro level, as well as in specific policy areas.
Policy areas that Worcester, MA is focused on
Worcester, MA utilizes 3 different innovation skills or roles
Situated in the City Manager's office, Worcester’s dedicated innovation team consists of 4 staff. However, there are 10 dedicated municipal employees working specifically on building innovation capacity throughout the organization.
Terms Worcester, MA most associates with innovation
Worcester, MA's most common innovation activities
Taking risks or testing new ideas
Data-driven analytics/public data management
Engaging residents in new ways
Developing new solutions based on digital technologies
Organizational change within the municipality
Rethinking your city’s approach to financing partnerships
How is innovation funded here?
Like 81% of cities surveyed, Worcester, MA has dedicated funding to support innovation capacity.
Top sources of funding
Activities being funded
*"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?
Worcester has developed partnerships to promote innovation capacity with private firms and not-for-profit organizations.
To improve data use, the city has also developed data partnerships with academia and think tanks to collect and analyze data.