Four Ways Local Governments Can Promote Startup Innovation

1. Create an innovation lab

Increasingly, communities are creating their own innovation labs. These are entities, typically within the government organization, prioritize investment in experimenting with solutions that may benefit the community.

2. Rethink procurement

Anyone who works in government (or has sold to one) understands the challenges of procurement. The procurement process’ exceptional length and bureaucratic hurdles are particularly challenging for startups, which have fewer resources than their larger competitors. But understanding this has led to some positive developments.

3. Build an innovation district

Innovation districts are a new model for urbanization. These areas act as well-defined, typically walkable zones, where the public and private sectors work together to attract economic development. The aim is to revitalize a given location, but the downstream impacts can be positive to the surrounding areas and the city in general.

4. Host a hackathon

To encourage the creation of startups and the entrepreneurial spirit of a community, cities can also consider hosting a hackathon. Hackathons are private or public events that bring together solvers to work on one or more problems. Historically, these solvers have been
software programmers, but that’s no longer the case as these events can attract all sorts of people — from government agency officials to concerned citizens with little technical talent.

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Dr. Jonathan Reichental

Dr. Jonathan Reichental

Multiple award-winning technology and business leader. Best-selling author. Professor. Idea machine.