The Innovation Team focuses on two main objectives:
- Executing the City’s Continuous Improvement workplan. Continuous Improvement is dedicated focus on internal problem solving. For public organizations, like the City of Durham, this might mean designing interventions to make an existing process more efficient, accessible, equitable, easier, or less costly. In other words, improving the way we offer services and programs at the City of Durham.
- Designing, testing, and implementing innovation projects. Public innovation involves developing and testing new ideas, products, programs, and methods or replicating successful interventions from other applications. Evaluating the impact of these projects is an essential piece our work.
Our work is aimed at understanding how the City might adapt to meet the needs of its residents and employees.
The I-Team employs a four-phase approach to projects:
- Exploring: We identify the problem or question, gather existing data, delve into literature on the subject, and speak with sources, users, and experts.
- Ideating: We generate a list of potential solutions, create prototypes and mini versions of the solutions or interventions, and gather feedback through user testing, focus groups, and interviews.
- Testing: We use experimental or quasi- experimental methods, data, and inputs to evaluate whether our solution works.
- Storytelling: We create a compelling narrative and share the results of testing through publications and presentations. We also look for opportunities to thoughtfully scale successful solutions.
Our approach combines techniques from human-centered design, quantitative and qualitative research methods, social and behavioral science, and rigorous program evaluation
Current Projects (FY 2022-23)
Sustainable Home Upgrades and Energy Efficiency Project
Paper Streets Project
WRAL news covers the expansion of the curbside composting program. A program pilot led by Innovation Manager Lyndsay Gavin, Solid Waste, and the Center for Advanced Hindsight. Read More...
The City of Durham won the "Most Entrepreneurial Town" Award for its Innovate Durham Program, which is run by the Innovation Team in the Office of Performance and Innovation. The award was a part of the 2022 Local Leadership Awards. Read More...
The work of the Innovation Team in the Office of Performance and Innovation is featured in Business Insider: "How 4 US cities are building resilience by focusing on clean energy, innovation, and smart infrastructure." Read More...