New York City to roll out its first internal innovation community

The High Line
The High Line in NYC

The innovation platform that was much-lauded use out in the little city of Manor, Texas is about to get a much bigger test in the Big Apple: the mayor’s office of New York City has chosen Spigit to power a city-wide initiative. Game mechanics in Gotham are about to get more play beyond Foursquare.

“We are launching a broad vision for modernizing City government called ‘Simplicity,'” said Mayor Bloomberg in a prepared statement. “Simplicity is based on the idea that government should be organized around the needs of its customers, who are taxpayers, businesses, and service users. In the year ahead we’ll launch online forums where every City employee can post ideas that he or she thinks will improve services or save the City money. Others will be able to comment on those proposals, and then we’ll implement the best ones. We look forward to working with Spigit, the company that is powering our online forum.”

The idea is straightforward: give city employees with an internal social network that’s designed to host collaborative discussions and develop ideas for solving problems. Given the complexity of New York City (and its internal labor relations) the execution won’t be as straightforward. If the mayor’s office sees success in the initial pilot with some 15,000 of the city’s government workforce, all 300,000 city employees will have the opportunity play along. Getting the momentum going within an ideation platform isn’t easy, but the rewards (cost savings, operational efficiencies, better services) are apparently enough that New York City is willing to give it a try.

UPDATE: Mathew Ingram has more on New York City’s internal crowdsourcing effort over at GigaOm.

About Alex Howard

Alexander B. Howard is a DC-based a technology writer and editor. Previously, he was the Washington Correspondent at O'Reilly Media, where he covered the voices, technologies and issues that matter in the intersection of government, technology and society. If you're feeling social, you can follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook or circle him on Google Plus In addition to corresponding for the O’Reilly Radar, he has contributed to the Huffington Post, Govfresh, Mashable, ReadWriteWeb, National Journal, The Atlantic, CBS News and Forbes. He graduated from Colby College with a bachelor's degree in biology and sociology. Currently, he is a resident of the District of Columbia, where he lives with his greyhound, wife, power tools, plants and growing collection of cast iron pans, many of which are frequently used to pursue his passion for good cooking.

1 Response

  1. Great to see New York following the trend of other cities and government organizations launching collaboration and innovation-focused platforms. The City of San Francisco, Country of Ireland ran successful programs utilizing Brightidea software to solicit ideas from city employees and the general public to tackle pressing issues like budget and deficits. Currently the Department of State is utilizing Brightidea software to power the Sounding Board internal innovation platform for all department employees to collaborate and share ideas to find solutions to common problems and share knowledge. Read more on these initiatives at

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