Panel: Local Government Labs for Evidence and Innovation: Opportunities and Challenges
(Public and Non-Profit Management and Finance)

Friday, November 9, 2018: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
Lincoln 3 - Exhibit Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Discussant:  Michele Jolin, Results for America

New York City’s Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity: Local Policy Innovation One Decade Later
Matt Klein, New York City Mayor's Office for Economic Opportunity

Govlabphl: Leveraging Partnerships for Government Innovation
Anjali Chainani, City of Philadelphia

The Lab @ DC: Innovating out of the Gate
David Yokum, U.S. General Services Administration

As local governments grapple with society’s toughest problems – environmental resiliency, technological change, poverty and inequality, disparities along gender and race lines, to name a few – buzzwords like “innovation” and “evidence” have become de rigeur in policy discussions. But how governments actually transform their operations, programs, and services in concrete ways to improve outcomes and inform decision making is seldom discussed. This panel will bring together representatives from municipal innovation agencies to provide a rare, on-the-ground perspective on how American cities are leading the charge toward better policy.


Using research to inform programming decisions may seem like a simple process: devote resources to programs which have the strongest evidence base. Yet, it is rarely that easy. Evidence for a type of program or how to meet a particular target population’s needs may be confusing, contradictory or weak, if it exists at all. Local politics or bureaucracy may make reallocating funds from ineffective programs to new interventions difficult. And resources may be tight to the point where creating new innovation-focused positions or deploying necessary technologies or tools may not be possible.


To show how practitioners grapple with the iterative and collaborative nature of innovation and evidence building, this panel brings together experts from three local government innovation hubs to explore how the work is done on the ground, as well as recent successes and challenges. Matt Klein, Executive Director of New York City’s Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity (NYC Opportunity), will provide a perspective from one of the first municipal innovation offices and discuss how NYC Opportunity has evolved its antipoverty efforts over the past 11 years. Anjali Chainani, Director of Policy for Philadelphia and the Director of GovLabPHL, will present on spurring innovation with a multi-agency partnership instead of a dedicated office. David Yokum, Director of the LAB @ DC, will share how a new organization has quickly maximized buy-in from government and community partners. Discussant Michele Jolin, CEO and Co-founder of Results for America, will draw out common themes, provide a national perspective on the growth of innovation labs around the country, and the potential for this work to transform policy at scale and influence the national policy sphere.