The City of Toronto officially launched its new Civic Innovation Office today, led by Director Paula Kwan. 

The Office was created in partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies and its Innovation Teams Program, which helps cities solve problems in new ways to deliver better results for residents. 

The three-person Toronto Innovation Office will work with City divisions, residents and outside innovators to “Create a More Responsive Government,” a theme selected through an open call to City staff which identified: 

  • a need to provide Toronto residents with better information about City services, programs and resources, 
  • a need for City services to be delivered according to resident need, working across divisions, and 
  • a need for the City to use data and public engagement to learn from and respond to complex and emerging issues. 

“The people of Toronto want their City to be responsive to the very real needs, questions and challenges they face every day,” said Mayor John Tory. “I look forward to the Civic Innovation Office working with Bloomberg Philanthropies to introduce new tools, technologies and approaches to benefit our city and its residents.” 

The Civic Innovation Office is fully funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies and reports to the City Manager Peter Wallace. As part of its mandate to develop new, innovative solutions, the Office will be using a new approach to procurement, a challenge-based “Invitation to Partner,” which invites outside partners to co-create solutions with a focus on resident experience and rapid prototyping. 

The office’s first project and Invitation to partner can be found at civicinnovation.to along with more information about Kwan, who joins the City from her most recent role as head of global expansion at Toronto’s Pivotal Labs, and team members Jay Vidyarthi, a design strategist, and Todd Orvitz, who will be responsible for policy and operations. 

“I am thrilled to be taking on this exciting challenge,” said Kwan. “Having the opportunity to work with the dedicated staff of the city I love is very meaningful to me. I am confident that the work done by the Civic Innovation Office in partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies will make a real difference in the lives of Toronto residents.”