Worcester, MA

United States


Joseph M. Petty


185,677 (2019)

Lead Innovation Officer

Eric D. Batista

Innovation is helping to:
  • Improve internal government operations

  • Save costs and improve efficiency within the public sector

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

Environment and climate change
Digital governance
Policy areas by number of cities

Worcester, MA utilizes 3 different innovation skills or roles

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

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

Big picture re-thinking
Data analytics

Worcester, MA's most common innovation activities

Developing new solutions based on digital technologies
e.g. use of drones or smart sensors
  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, Worcester, MA 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

Investing in digital systems
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

*"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.

Data availability by policy area