Bloomberg’s What Works Cities Program Hits 100-City Goal

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Bloomberg’s What Works Cities Program Hits 100-City Goal

When it launched in April 2015, one of the goals of What Works Cities, the cross-sector partnership funded by the Bloomberg Philanthropies that’s focused on assisting mid-sized U.S. cities with their data management and agency performance challenges, was to expand the initiative to eventually include 100 municipal governments.

After initially working with a group of cities considered early-adopters of local government management best practices—including Chattanooga, Tennessee; Kansas City, Missouri; New Orleans; and Seattle—WWC gradually expanded its network of members. On Wednesday, the organization announced its final group of cities to be officially accepted into the program: Columbia, South Carolina; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Honolulu, Hawaii; Irving, Texas; and Long Beach, California.

As many of the WWC member cities can attest, the process to be considered and accepted into the program is rigorous and thorough. Being a What Works city also requires a high-level of commitment from mayors and their senior leadership to work with the team that supports the program, a group that includes the Center for Government Excellence at Johns Hopkins University, the Government Performance Lab at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, Results for America, the Sunlight Foundation and the Behavioral Insights Team, a performance management consultancy originally launched by the government of the United Kingdom.

Member cities not only get access to the academic and non-profit expertise from WWC partners, they also get to tap the hivemind of local government professionals in the network’s other cities by comparing notes, adapting ideas and adopting best practices that have worked elsewhere.

In the case of Grand Rapids, a municipality with around 200,000 residents, the data-focused initiatives and projects going on elsewhere in the network will not only help shape the city’s own efforts on data governance and management, but also allow departments to accelerate that transformation. That’s because much of the work to identify best practices and strategies has already been done by peer cities in the WWC network...

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