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Ten Cities Presenting 10 Data Innovations: How We Prepared Our Data Innovators to Put On Their Pitch Hat

Our ten cities were recently able to put their refined pitching skills to the test by giving public presentations as a part of New York University’s Center for Urban Science and Progress’ (CUSP) Re...

Posted on 4th of March 2022 by Adrienne Schmoeker

Over the course of 5 months, we have worked with ten participating cities in the City Incubator program to harness their data innovation projects led by respective city agencies. The Incubator entails a series of training and opportunities that aim to equip public entrepreneurs with the skills and understanding necessary to get their work off the ground. One of those skills: learning to “sell” and pitch your data innovation! 


Training sessions dedicated to strengthening participants’ pitching skills — a method necessary to implement, sustain, and expand a data innovation project — focused on effective strategies to “sell” their data innovation ideas to public officials and stakeholders. We hosted a pitching workshop in early February, inviting guest speakers Dana Raviv (Sales Manager at JustWorks) and Jonathan Pichot (Leader in data product management for various international governments and startups) to better understand “the anatomy of sales,” a broader introduction to a sales approach as well as case studies of data innovation sales. 


Our ten cities were recently able to put their refined pitching skills to the test by giving public presentations as a part of New York University’s Center for Urban Science and Progress’ (CUSP) Research Seminar Series in mid-February. NYU CUSP is a research center at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering focused on the interdisciplinary application of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in the service of urban communities across the world. Their Research Seminar Series features leading voices in the growing field of Urban Informatics and examines real-world challenges facing cities and urban environments across the globe.  


The City Incubator kicked off the 2022 Winter/Spring semester’s CUSP Research Seminar Series with the first of three seminars devoted to individual pitches of the Incubator participants as well as The GovLab Co-Founder and Chief Research and Development Officer Stefaan Verhulst’s presentation on the Third Wave of Open Data. With a diverse and broad group of attendees in the audience, participants delivered concise yet persuasive presentations that summarized their data innovations’ problem statement, solutions, challenges, and timeline of their initiatives: 

Albuquerque New Mexico, USA: The Albuquerque Equity Index is an initiative of the Office of Equity and Inclusion and uses a variety of data sources to feed into a public geospatial tool to support air quality monitoring. 

Beer Sheva, Israel: A new dashboard is providing support to a local nonprofit in customizing some of Beer Sheva's open data and federal Israeli data to support a hyper-local view of communities that the nonprofit serves.

Changunarayan, Nepal: Building an open data initiative, the City is working to be an example for all of Nepal on how to set standards and policies to make an effective open data program possible.

City of Mendoza, Argentina: A digitization initiative, the City's central Geospatial team is helping their Transportation Agency transition their car crash data from a paper form to a digital intake form; this machine-readable data will then feed into a hotspot map to facilitate transportation planning decisions.

Guayaquil, Ecuador: Developing an open data initiative, various technology teams within the City are coordinating efforts to launch an open data platform taking a demand-driven approach to understanding users' demand for data and prioritizing the release of that data first. 

New York City, USA: Working on version two of a data collaborative, originally the NYC Recovery Data Partnership bringing third party data together to serve COVID-19 recovery efforts, now pivoting to support more varied use cases for NYC government. 

Timișoara, Romania: Launching a new a citizen engagement tool (Civic Inspector) conceived to enable volunteers to help the City government with the validation of services for street/parks cleaning, sweeping and waste collection. 

Springfield Missouri, USA: Developing key performance indicators (KPIs) for various departments across the City, rolled up into a centralized dashboard (Power BI).

Syracuse New York, USA: Supporting data-driven allocation and public tracking of funding from the US Federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) provided to Syracuse (ARPA is an investment by the US federal government given to cities to support equitable recovery after the pandemic).

Winnipeg, Canada: Developing key metrics and a dashboard for a new Diversity Dashboard highlighting workforce diversity; helping to set new policy goals on equity-focused workforce recruitment. 

In case you missed the series, you can watch the recordings to learn more about how the Third Wave of Open Data looks in these city governments from around the world:  

In Part I of the City Incubator seminar, participants from Winnipeg, Canada; Guayaquil, Ecuador; Timișoara, Romania; and Syracuse, New York, USA presented their data innovation. 

Part II of the City Incubator seminar followed up to Part I’s discussion, with pitches presented by leaders from Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA; Beer Sheva, Israel; Springfield, Missouri, USA; Mendoza City, Argentina; New York City, New York, USA; and Changunarayan Municipality, Nepal.

In the Part III Of the City Incubator seminar, Stefaan Verhulst discussed the concept and value of the emergent third wave approach, the opportunities and challenges it provides, and ways that cities are leading its development.

To learn more about the CUSP Research Seminar Series join their mailing list here.

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