STIR presents a unique opportunity for government agencies and start-ups to think creatively about how they can work together
City Innovate has announced the 40 start-ups that will take part in its 2019 Start-up in Residence (STIR) programme, which aims to address key civic challenges in cities across the US.
Nearly 700 start-ups competed for a chance to work with 22 governments for the opportunity to secure a contract. The selected start-ups volunteer their time with government agencies over a 16-week period.
On its blog on Medium.com, City Innovate explained that this year challenges include improving disaster response coordination and communication, connecting low-income renters with micro lenders to more quickly access their security deposit and providing dynamic routing support software for transit buses.
In 2018, the programme launched in 11 cities across the United States. STIR is now in 22 governments across the US and Canada and has worked with nearly 100 start-ups. See all the 2019 STIR team partnerships here.
“The Start-up in Residence programme is a model for civic innovation and national collaboration,” said Jay Nath, former chief innovation officer for San Francisco and executive director for City Innovate. “This programme is a unique opportunity for government agencies and start-ups to think creatively about how we can work together to modernise government to benefit residents.”
Adria Finch, chief innovation officer in Syracuse, one of the participating cities, said the programme has provided countless benefits. “Not only have we identified companies to help us solve city challenges, but we have also adopted new techniques to improve our procurement, advanced innovation and technology budgeting practices, and identified new employees to drive change throughout the organisation,” she said. “We’ve already learned so much from City Innovate, and we are excited to continue our partnership.”
“Not only have we identified companies to help us solve city challenges, but also new employees to drive change throughout the organisation”
Through the Technology Advisory Board, the programme offers start-ups the opportunity to work with industry leaders to improve their product, form partnerships, and help scale their impact. Industry leaders include Accela, Citi Ventures, Cubic, Esri, Google, Mexichem, Microsoft, Oracle, Panasonic, and Visa.
The programme also offers education for government and start-up staff in areas including design thinking, lean methodologies, procurement, civic technology trends, and new methods of product development and procurement.
Among the start-ups chosen this year are Coord, the kerb data platform company, which has been selected by the city of San Diego. By using its data collection technology, Surveyor tool, Coord will provide the city of San Diego with a comprehensive inventory of the city’s painted kerbs and parking signs, showing exactly where cars and trucks are allowed to park, load and unload goods, or pick up and drop off passengers at each point along the city’s streets.
“With the growing importance of kerbs in our cities, having a digital picture of the curb rules is an essential component for cities and governments to foster more efficient and seamless transportation,” said Stephen Smyth, CEO of Coord.
Meanwhile, the Virginian city of Norfolk has chosen data science company Civis Analytics, which will work with the Norfolk Department of City Planning to help residents understand their flood risk. This will be based on an analysis of historical FEMA data and a number of property characteristics, such as location and elevation, empowering them to make informed decisions to protect their property.
"Communities like Norfolk have data that can literally change lives, but the process of getting it into a place where it is accurate, useful, and interpretable is extremely complicated"
"In certain situations, the decision to buy the right flood insurance can make a huge difference in a family’s life, but it’s hard for residents to truly understand their risk just by looking up their FEMA flood map designation," said Amy Deora, who leads Civis’ government analytics team. "We want to make that information clear and accessible, so residents understand what would happen to their property in various emergency situations."
Dan Wagner, CEO and founder of Civis Analytics, added: "Communities like Norfolk have data that can literally change lives, but the process of getting it into a place where it is accurate, useful, and interpretable is extremely complicated, making public-private partnerships crucial.”
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