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Recent Innovative Practices

"Alexa, Ask the City of Johns Creek"
October 17, 2018   |  Smart Cities Dive
Johns Creek has developed a municipal Amazon Alexa skill, which leverages open data from the city's open data portal (DataHub) and makes it more accessible to citizens through Alexa's natural language question-answer workflow. By simply asking the "City of Johns Creek" skill, users can obtain answers to more than 200 questions regarding city operations, services and common inquiries.

Alpharetta Employee Referral Program
June 21, 2018
Alpharetta's Employee Referral Program is designed as a partnership between the city and its most valued asset and best recruiters, the employees. The purpose of the program is to provide an incentive award to current employees who bring new talent to the city by referring applicants who are subsequently selected and successfully employed.

Snellville Community Garden Snellville Community Garden
April 27, 2018
Snellville's Community Garden is a place where residents can work year-round on gardening projects and beekeeping. In addition to producing food, the garden is a collaborative enterprise that brings the community together.

How Cities Can Embrace Innovation With Smarter Regulations
March 9, 2018   |  Center for Urban Innovation at the Aspen Institute
Many city governments are torn when it comes to innovation. On the one hand, constituents increasingly demand flexibility, interaction, and iteration, and governments want to be seen as responsive to new ideas and services. On the other, cities are bound by regulatory processes developed decades ago and designed for predictability, stability, and protection. The real work for city leaders today is to create not just new rules, but new ways of writing and adjusting regulations that better fit the dynamism and pace of change of cities themselves.

Athens-Clarke County Innovation Ambassadors Athens-Clarke County Innovation Ambassadors
March 7, 2018
How can cities foster and institutionalize a culture of innovation? Athens-Clarke County recently implemented a program to encourage collaborative and cross-departmental improvements.

Advancing a New Wave of Urban Competitiveness Advancing a New Wave of Urban Competitiveness
July 10, 2017   |  The Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Initiative on Innovation and Placemaking
This handbook offers concrete strategies for mayors and their administrations to facilitate the rise of innovation districts—small geographic areas within cities where research universities, medical institutions, and companies cluster and connect with start-ups, accelerators, and incubators.

Whistlestop Shops Whistlestop Shops
May 12, 2017   |  Alex Mitchem, Community Development Director, Auburn
Downtown revitalization can be a daunting enterprise, unless you start small—literally.

Citizen Chalkboard Budget Workshop Citizen Chalkboard Budget Workshop
November 8, 2016   |  William Whitson, City Manager of Hapeville
Like any other city, Hapeville’s budget affects every citizen, but the public is not consistently engaged in the budget process. The Citizen Chalkboard set out to change that. 

Honorary Councilmember of the Month Honorary Councilmember of the Month
September 1, 2016   |  Bob Schwartz, City Manager of Oxford
Citizen engagement is a persistent challenge for municipal governments. The Honorary Councilmember program offers a solution by giving interested citizens access to the inner workings of the city. This case study presents the program as it has operated in Oxford from 2013 to the present.

Watkinsville - The Artland of Georgia Watkinsville - The Artland of Georgia
August 29, 2016   |  Mayor Charles Ivie
Many historical towns/villages are identified by statues of famous people telling a compelling story of place and culture. Watkinsville does not have such a monument, though its history extends to the beginning of the 19th century. What it does have is art, and a thriving community pride in its growing reputation as the Artland of Georgia. 

Fort Valley's Front Porch Roll Call Fort Valley's Front Porch Roll Call
August 23, 2016
According to Robert S. Stering's 2004 Police Officer's Handbook, a roll call is a briefing "where supervisors take attendance, inspect uniform and equipment, inform the oncoming shift of any outstanding incidents that may have occurred, inform officers of suspects to be looking out for, relate any law or procedural changes, and so on." While roll calls are a very common occurance in police departments around the state, the city of Fort Valley is taking the roll call to the community.
Innovation Made in Georgia is a periodic feature of innovative programs in Georgia’s cities. Each case study presents a creative solution to a problem in municipal government, describes how the program works, and discusses its costs and benefits.
If your city runs an innovative program that you would like to share, contact Holger Loewendorf at (678) 686-6246.
If possible, please provide the following information: 
  • What should everyone know about your city?
  • What was the reason or inspiration for your program, and when did you start it?
  • How does the program operate?
  • What are the costs and benefits?
  • What has been the response to the program?
  • What advice do you have for other cities in order to adopt your program?