Mayor John Tory, joined by Councillor Paul Ainslie (Ward 43 Scarborough East), Chair of the Government Management Committee; Councillor Michelle Holland (Ward 35 Scarborough Southwest), the Mayor’s Advocate for the Innovation Economy; and City Manager Peter Wallace, announced the new office today at Normative Inc., an innovation company located in Toronto.
“Toronto is home to a large population of innovators, startups and tech companies who can help the City deliver better services to the public, while promoting a new approach to problem solving within government,” said Mayor Tory. “I look forward to working with Bloomberg Philanthropies, City divisions and our civic technology community to launch this exciting new Civic Innovation Office.”
“Innovation Teams bring 21st century problem-solving skills to City Hall,” said James Anderson, head of Government Innovation programs for Bloomberg Philanthropies. “The teams implement creative solutions by breaking down silos within city halls, engaging residents to jointly understand citizen needs and testing ideas before taking them to scale.”
The Civic Innovation Office will be housed within the City Manager’s Office and apply technology, data analysis and design thinking to develop and test solutions to challenges faced by Toronto residents. The office is fully funded through Bloomberg Philanthropies, a collective that works to address pressing urban challenges to improve the quality of life for local residents. Recently, Bloomberg selected Toronto as the first Canadian city to join its global network of Innovation Teams.
The Civic Innovation Office will work with City divisions and agencies to identify major challenges to be solved through innovative partnerships with external teams, who will work through 16-week stints to deliver real solutions that can be procured by the City.
“Governments can learn so much from the innovation community when it comes to how they solve problems through data, design and agile development,” said Councillor Ainslie. “I look forward to seeing the solutions developed through the Civic Innovation Office and the culture shift this will produce inside Toronto City Hall.”
The Office will work closely with Bloomberg Philanthropies and actively collaborate with other Innovation Team grantee cities, including Anchorage, Alaska; Durham, North Carolina; Austin, Texas; Baltimore, Maryland; and Detroit, Michigan.
“Toronto is an emerging centre of innovation and technology and home to so much diverse talent,” said Councillor Holland. “This is a city where people can have an impact and create new solutions, building their lives and their companies, while helping us build a great city.”
The City of Toronto has begun a search for an Executive Director, Project Manager and Design Strategist to lead the Civic Innovation Office. More information about the postings can be found at here.
The City of Toronto is an emerging global centre of technology and innovation. Technology-related jobs account for 400,000 jobs in Toronto and the sector has been growing at twice the rate of overall jobs.