Toronto’s Civic Innovations Office will work with City Divisions and agencies to identify major challenges that can be solved with the help of technology. “Toronto is home to a large population of innovators, startups, and tech companies who can help the City deliver better services to the public while promoting a new approach to problem-solving within government,” says Toronto Mayor John Tory. 

civic innovations office

John Tory via Twitter

As the first Canadian city to get funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, Toronto’s initiative to solve its problems with technology got a grant worth of $500,000 as part of the Innovation Teams program run by Bloomberg. Innovation Teams has also granted other cities in the region, all of which Toronto will be working with. Those cities include: Anchorage, Alaska; Durham, North Carolina; Austin, Texas; Baltimore, Maryland; and Detroit, Michigan. 

Toronto’s Civic Innovations Office and other teams will work through a 16-week timeframe to find and invent solutions out of challenges and difficulties faced by Toronto residents. They will focus on four main directions; being the developers and creators of innovation, they’ll focus on specific challenges and create solutions for them. Colleagues in other government agencies will get together and exchange ideas. They will also engage citizens, nonprofits, and businesses to find new ideas. Here, the innovation teams focus on making government more open to ideas from outside in order to make way for better creativity.

The teams also engage themselves in changing the processes, skills, and culture of the government. The teams are skilled to educate and get people inside government to accept changing technology and innovation. Acceptance of innovation and technology is not the only thing missing on the government’s part, though -they also need training. After they have done their work with the human-transformation of government employees and have helped them accept change, technology and innovation, the teams will use the architects in them to produce high quality workspaces to match the high tech systems and mindsets working in them.