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Cincinnati participating in Bloomberg Center for Public Innovation training

Bill Rinehart

Cincinnati is one of 13 cities across the globe chosen for the Innovation Training program from the Bloomberg Center for Public Innovation. The program from Johns Hopkins University chose seven U.S. cities for 2022.

A local team of city officials will work with international experts on their chosen topic: improving community engagement.

"We know that leadership across our city wants everyone who lives within Cincinnati to feel that they have an avenue to sharing their thoughts, their insights, their ideas for solving problems," said Kelly LaFrankie, innovation manager for the city's Office of Performance and Data Analytics. "This program is a result of a lot of people trying to come together to really get to an actionable solution for a very, very important component of government."

The team consists of 12 people representing 10 departments. They're currently in the first of three phases for the year-long program. Staff will work with international experts through case studies, lectures and hands-on experience.

“We are thrilled to invest in our staff, coordinate on best practices, and dedicate ourselves to working toward bold new improvements in our community engagement," said Mayor Aftab Pureval in a statement.

The Innovation Training is separate from a city effort already underway: the Planning and Engagement Department is putting together a new community engagement plan in response to a council ordinance last year. LaFrankie says the two projects are distinct but work together.

"The ordinance stretches a little bit further than what the Innovation Project is going to be able to deliver on," LaFrankie said. "But a lot of the outcomes that we'll find in our project will be components of the overall plan that Planning and Engagement will eventually present to the city manager."

LaFrankie says there will be a lot of opportunities for residents to be involved in the year-long Innovation Training. A few ideas are expected to be ready for implementation this fall.

The 13 cities chosen are:

  • Birmingham, Alabama
  • Bloomington, Indiana
  • Calgary (Canada)
  • Charleston, South Carolina
  • Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Dublin (Ireland)
  • Fortaleza (Brazil)
  • Kalamazoo, Michigan
  • Limerick (Ireland)
  • Maceió (Brazil)
  • Orlando, Florida
  • Pueblo, Colorado
  • Warsaw (Poland)
Local Government Reporter with a particular focus on Cincinnati; experienced journalist in public radio and television throughout the Midwest. Enthusiastic about: civic engagement, public libraries, and urban planning.