City leaders and their teams will conclude the two years not with only new policy ideas and practical tools but also piloted innovations for addressing and preventing problem properties in their cities. The program is an intensive learning and leadership development experience firmly anchored in the actual work of making progress in cities. There are three main program objectives:

  • Development of a compelling innovation strategy
  • Learning, prototyping and piloting innovations
  • Improved government performance

Through an integrated lens, the project aims to support the ten cities in identifying, developing and testing new ideas to advance their goals while simultaneously making them more aware of community needs and capacities, opportunities for better government performance and ways to become a more responsive, proactive and learning organization capable of better serving their communities. In doing so, the Innovation Field Lab New York program guides cities through multiple stages: municipality readiness, integrated assessment, innovation grant, and pilot implementation.

An inflection point comes during the Executive Retreat held in Cambridge Massachusetts. Conceived as a pressure cooker experience for City leaders, the intense two and a half day event culminates in the development of a clear and structured plan for the Innovation Grant proposal that will guide the yearlong pilot phase. Following the Executive Retreat, cities will finalize their innovation strategy and formalize into a grant proposal in consultation with community and stakeholders in city hall. The Ash Center, along with the other program partners, will support the development and implementation of innovations to facilitate learning within and across cities.