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Business Model Innovation in Local Government

Business Model Innovation in Local Government
What's new: K-Startup Grand Challenge 2020 for Australian/New Zealand Startups! More information here.

In recent years, prominent corporations have geared towards acting more like Startup organizations, because it’s the environment most conducive to innovation.

SBA research shows that smaller businesses produce 16-times more patents per employee than large corporations.

Then, it should come as no surprise that local governments with a thirst for innovation are following suit and adhering to the business models that Startup companies use so prolifically.

Denver's Unheralded Agility and Smart City Models

City’s prioritizing the ability to roll with the proverbial punches and pivot when needed put themselves at a distinct advantage.

The very nature of an agile business model breeds innovation because adjusting to every obstacle on the fly necessitates creative solutions from every employee, top-to-bottom.

Denver, Colorado is partnering with Panasonic to build a 400-acre, $500 million ‘smart,’ 100%connected community, called Peña Station Next. Sensors and cameras strewn throughout the city/lab-hybrid deliver data to optimize urban living for citizens. Plus, robotic shuttles with on-demand technology will reduce traffic, and wirelessly controlled streetlights will save energy.

Also, environmental monitors will discern the optimal times to plow snow and the best places to install solar panels.

At the crux of being ‘agile’ means gearing up for change. So, at the forefront of Denver’s model is staying ahead in a world where the ‘future won't look anything like our world does today,’claims Kelly Brough, President and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce states.


Popularized by platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo, crowdfunding allows people to pool resources towards a larger goal—generally through online donations.

When Kickstarter launched in 2009, many Startup companies famously tapped into rewards-based crowdfunding to gain initial customers and test their idea. These efforts leveraged the goodwill of friends, family, and fans into funding an innovation. These companies would incentivize donations with rewards, such as an opportunity to be one of the first to own a new product or invention.

Many experts believe that every Startup should host a crowdfunding campaign. Furthermore, there’s a direct link between crowdfunding and innovation. After all, if a fresh idea is viable and exciting enough while solving a consumer problem, the masses will happily dish out the cash.

Kansas City, Missouri learned from successful crowdfunding examples and started the B-Cycle program. To improve the bike share's infrastructure system, Kansas's local government took to the platform and launched a crowdfunding campaign, running simultaneous mini-campaigns which ranged from goals between $50,000 to $250,000. Success would bring up to 5 bike stations to 10 different Kansas neighborhoods. The campaign is currently in its second phase, with the first focusing on maintaining current stations.

Another instance of a local crowdfunding campaign was when in February 2014, a neighborhood near Memphis, Tennessee called Binghampton used the method to account for the last $69,000 of the Hampline. The successful campaign led to the construction of a two-mile cycle track connecting Binghampton to nearby parks and trails.

The city raised the money with the crowdfunding platform known as ioby, which helps launch environmental and community development initiatives around the country.

Enabling the Local Business Community

The City of Charles Sturt has used its influence to work with local businesses and prepare them for a long term trade relationship with businesses in China. The key element inits strategy is to get local businesses China Ready.

The Strategy is based on research conducted in 2014 with 163 companies in Western Adelaide. It is the only Australian evidence based local government research on SME engagement with China. The City of Charles Sturt China Ready program was based on this research.

The China Ready program is being adopted by many Councils and some RDA’s who are engaging with China. Council has provided the Strategy to many Councils and RDA’s.

The Investment Strategy and the China Business Engagement Strategy are paying dividends for Council. City of Charles Sturt led a delegation of 10 businesses from Western Adelaide who participated in the May 2015 Shandong Business Mission. As a result of the work undertaken by the City of Charles Sturt ten recommendations have been developed for the State Government to consider. Shandong Business Mission 2015.

It is understood that each of the 10 companies made significant business contacts. There will be substantial benefits to local businesses as a result of the Business Mission.

Workflow Podcast

The WorkFlow podcast is hosted by Steve Glaveski with a mission to help you unlock your potential to do more great work in far less time, whether you're working as part of a team or flying solo, and to set you up for a richer life.

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To help you avoid stepping into these all too common pitfalls, we’ve reflected on our five years as an organization working on corporate innovation programs across the globe, and have prepared 100 DOs and DON’Ts.

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Unlock new opportunities and markets by taking your brand into the brave new world.

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Shay Namdarian

Shay is the General Manager of Customer Strategy at Collective Campus. He has over 10 years of experience working across a wide range of projects focusing on customer experience, design thinking, innovation and digital transformation. He has gained his experience across several consulting firms including Ernst & Young, Capgemini and Accenture.

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