Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter wants to make the city a more innovative place. The latest effort is a $100,000 Innovation Fund to support short-term projects designed to improve life in Philadelphia.
The idea for the fund grew from the selection process the city engaged in to come up with its winning entry for the 2012 Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayor Challenge, said Andrew Buss, the city director of innovation management.
“We felt like we had a lot of really interesting ideas and, obviously, only one was the idea the city put forward for the competition, and that ultimately won a million dollars,” said Buss. “But, on a smaller scale, we’re looking at trying to implement some ideas that are fundable with smaller amounts of money.”
One idea the city is considering focuses on finding ways to use technology to encourage healthy eating. The Innovation Fund is related to two other recent initiatives — a seven-week academy to teach city employees about generating ideas and a lab space in the Municipal Services Building that Buss says will open in a few weeks.
“Those are all supposed to be nice coordinated efforts,” said Buss, “where people who come out of the academy would work in the lab, would work on some of the ideas that come out of the fund.”
The money for the Innovation Fund will come from the Mayor’s Fund for Philadelphia, a nonprofit to support public and private collaborations.