How can municipalities use data to improve the lives of their residents? This is the question at the heart of the "What Works Cities" intiative from Bloomberg Philanthropies. Similar to the 2012-2013 Mayors Challenge, which called for innovative ideas from local leaders and facilitated collaboration with experts, this $42 million, three-year program will provide expertise and time to cities that want data-driven solutions for their biggest challenges.
Local leadership is at the heart of What Works Cities: mayors and other city chief executives who commit to using data and evidence to improve results for residents, as well as senior city leaders such as city managers and procurement officials. The first step in the application process is to provide an overview of your city's goals and to fill out a short online survey.
What's a good example of how data can help improve quality of life? Just look at Focus on Results Atlanta, a performance management system that helps serve residents through transparency, analysis, and support. During 2013-2014, it helped reduce a backlog of uninspected housing code violation complaints by 70 percent.
And why should cities consider becoming a What Works City? Best practices, for one thing: Learn from other cities, discuss similarities among issues, and even tackle problems together and with guidance from world-class experts.
And speaking of tackling problems together, here's a popular template designed by local government experts to help your project managers keep the finance folks in the know: