Ash Center Launches Three-Part Paper Series on the Innovation Landscape

July 2, 2013
Ash Center Launches Three-Part Paper Series on the Innovation Landscape

Cambridge, Mass. – Today the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard Kennedy School announced the launch of its Improving the Local Landscape for Innovation Paper Miniseries authored by Gigi Georges, Tim Glynn-Burke, and Andrea McGrath. As part of the Center’s broader Occasional Paper Series, this three-part publication serves as a practical handbook for city leaders formalizing their efforts to promote and support innovative solutions in their cities.

“I am happy to present this miniseries to practitioners and fellow scholars alike,” said Tony Saich, series editor and director of the Ash Center. “This project is not a definitive statement on the most effective innovation strategies but rather is intended to stimulate a much needed, and what we think will be a welcomed discussion on how to drive innovation in public problem-solving.”

Increasingly, elected officials are designating specific positions or teams whose portfolio is to implement innovation-specific strategies. Yet, many of their efforts remain untested. This series explores emerging tactics to strengthen the “innovation landscape” – the civic, institutional, and political building blocks critical to development of good solutions to public problems.

The miniseries is organized in three parts. Part 1: Mechanics, Partners and Clusters introduces readers to the nature of the work by highlighting current efforts to drive innovation in Boston, Denver, and New York City. It orients the miniseries within the robust discourse that practitioners and academics are engaging in on local innovation.

Part 2: Framework for an Innovative Jurisdiction introduces a comprehensive framework for driving innovation. This framework includes a set of strategies and practices developed from the Ash Center’s work on social innovation, including The Power of Social Innovation: How Civic Entrepreneurs Ignite Community Networks for Good (2010) by Stephen Goldsmith with Gigi Georges and Tim Glynn-Burke, and from new first person accounts, in-depth interviews, practitioner surveys, and relevant literature.

A forthcoming third and final paper published this fall will focus on implementation of the framework’s strategies and introduce a unique assessment tool that city leaders could use to determine the health of their current efforts, evaluate their progress towards improving the local landscape for innovation, and communicate the value of their work to residents and key stakeholders.

The Ash Center’s Occasional Paper Series is designed to highlight new research from the Center and encourage an energetic exchange of ideas in the public policy community. Visit the Center’s Occasional Paper Series for past publications.

Gigi Georges was most recently the program director of the Innovation Strategies Initiative at the Ash Center. Tim Glynn-Burke is an Ash Center research associate and Andrea McGrath, MPA ’05, is principal at Amplified Impact.

For more information, contact:
Kate Hoagland
Ash Center

About the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation
The Roy and Lila Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation advances excellence and innovation in governance and public policy through research, education, and public discussion. Three major programs support our mission: the Program on Democratic Governance; the Innovations in Government Program; and the Rajawali Foundation Institute for Asia. For more information, visit