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The City’s ‘Innovator in Residence’ employee swap program has officially kicked off

August 18, 2015 Category: Method

The City’s ‘Innovator in Residence’ program, part of the City’s Office of Innovation & Technology, swaps City employees with employees in local businesses about once a week for three hours to help solve problems within each organization.

According to Andrew Buss, the Director of Innovation Management at the City’s Office of Innovation & Technology, the new program grew out of the City of Philadelphia’s Innovation Academy.

“Essentially, the [Innovation Academy is a] partnership we have with Philadelphia University where we send municipal employees through a course they’ve designed to teach about the principles of innovation,” Buss said.

“The idea was to take some of the folks who had been through that course, through one of the two cohorts, and try and give them some sort of applied experience so they could take the principles that they had gotten more in that academic setting and apply them more in a real world setting,” he added.

The program, which started a couple of weeks ago, has placed city workers at four institutions across the city (and vice versa): People’s Emergency Center, Indy Hall, Philadelphia University, Drexel University.

“We’re heavy on the universities, but we’re finding that may have made a lot of sense ultimately,” Buss added.

The program will run for eight weeks through November. The group meets together every other week for lunch on Fridays to discuss challenges, what’s not working, what they’ve learned.

“This is really a pilot — so we’re going to see how this works, because this is really new,” Buss said. “I honestly had no idea if this would work or not. Thus far, people have been really interested in it and the conversations have been really good.”

Image via Andrew Buss

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