Civic Analytics Network

  • Established with the support of the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, the Civic Analytics Network is a new national peer network of urban Chief Data Officers (CDOs). The Civic Analytics Network will collaborate on shared projects that advance the use of data visualization and predictive analytics in solving important urban problems related to economic opportunity, poverty reduction, and addressing the root causes of social problems.

Mayors Challenge    

  • The Mayors Challenge is Bloomberg Philanthropies’ ideas competition that encourages cities to generate innovative ideas that solve major challenges and improve city life – and that have the potential to spread to other cities. The Ash Center is the Research Partner for the five winners of the 2012 Mayors Challenge – Providence, RI; Chicago, IL; Houston, TX; Santa Monica, CA; and Philadelphia, PA. In that capacity, the Center is working with the cities during the implementation process to evaluate and record the process of innovation, develop a consistent body of learnings, promote replication, and provide the cities with research and documentation support.

Project on Municipal Innovation

  • The Project on Municipal Innovation (PMI), launched in 2006, is directed by Harvard Kennedy School professor Stephen Goldsmith and supported by Living Cities. PMI consists of the 45 largest cities across the U.S. Each city appoints one representative, in most cases the Chief of Staff or the Chief Policy Advisor to the mayor. PMI-AG is a unique initiative that provides a platform for cities to share and adapt best practices and innovative policy ideas that increase efficiency and improve the lives of citizens.

Regulatory Reform

  • With the support of the Smith Richardson Foundation, the Ash Center built an inventory of regulatory best practices that will support local governments in streamlining regulatory processes, while at the same time supporting local and regional economic development. This research will be a resource for those US and international cities looking to learn more about regulatory reform, as well as those interested in replicating and adapting best practices to streamline regulatory development, licensing and permitting, and compliance in their own city.

The Responsive City

  • The Responsive City is a guide to civic engagement and governance in the digital age that will help leaders link important breakthroughs in technology and data analytics with age-old lessons of small-group community input to create more agile, competitive, and economically resilient cities. Featuring vivid case studies highlighting the work of pioneers in New York, Boston, Chicago and more, the book provides a compelling model for the future of governance. The book will help mayors, chief technology officers, city administrators, agency directors, civic groups and nonprofit leaders break out of current paradigms to collectively address civic problems. It is coauthored by Stephen Goldsmith and Susan Crawford and builds on the research conducted through the Data-Smart City Solutions project. 

What Works Cities 

  • Launched by Bloomberg Philanthropies in April 2015, What Works Cities is a national initiative to help 100 mid-sized American cities enhance their use of data and evidence to improve services, inform local decision-making and engage residents. It is one of the largest-ever philanthropic efforts to improve local governments' data and evidence practices. Data-Smart City Solutions is working with What Works Cities to research and share lessons learned from the data work underway.



  • The Government Innovators Network is a marketplace of ideas and examples of government innovation for policymakers, policy advisors, and practitioners. Through our content — news, articles, reports, descriptions of award-winning innovative programs, and events — and our online communities of practice, we strive to stimulate new ideas and bring people and ideas together around innovations in government.

Innovations in American Government Awards

  • The Innovations in American Government Awards is the nation's preeminent program devoted to recognizing and promoting excellence and creativity in the public sector. The program highlights exemplary models of government innovation and advances efforts to address the nation's most pressing public concerns. Since its inception in 1985, the Program has received over 27,000 applications and recognized nearly 500 government initiatives since it was established in 1985 with funding from the Ford Foundation. The Innovations in American Government Awards is housed at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard Kennedy School.


  • Presented by Professor Stephen Goldsmith and launched under the auspices of the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, Better, Faster, Cheaper provides essential content for anyone who cares about public sector innovation. Better, Faster, Cheaper focuses on innovative ideas for governments looking to provide real value to the public while lowering the cost of services.