The first phase of the What Works Cities initiative was a three-year, $42 million national initiative that helped 100 mid-sized American cities enhance their use of data and evidence to increase community engagement, make government more effective, and improve the lives of residents.
After joining the initiative in 2016, Portland became part of a network of mid-sized cities that included Seattle, San Francisco, Boise, Las Vegas, Denver, Kansas City, New Orleans, and Anchorage. Over the course of three years, Portland had the rare opportunity to work with four expert technical partners and a nationally recognized peer jurisdiction to build our capacity for using data and evidence in the following areas:
1. Improve our policies and practices around open data with the Sunlight Foundation and the Center for Government Excellence at Johns Hopkins University (GovEx).
2. Increase the effectiveness of our City’s performance management program with Center for Government Excellence at Johns Hopkins University (GovEx).
3. Apply behavioral insights and conduct low-cost program evaluation of City programs and practices with The Behavioral Insights Team (BIT).
4. Improve the efficiency of procurement for construction services at PBOT with Harvard Kennedy School Government Performance Lab (GPL); and
5. Connect with the Denver’s “Peak Academy” to launch the PDX Process Improvement Pilot, which aims to create a culture of continuous improvement for City staff.
At the end of this phase of the program, WWC helped Portland assess our progress in these areas and published a report summarizing the findings. Check out the report below!