Dear Silicon Flatirons Friends and Supporters,
To encourage innovative strategies for addressing pressing public policy challenges, Silicon Flatirons introduced the Governmental Entrepreneurial Leadership Accelerator (GELA) in partnership with Mayor Michael B. Hancock and the City and County of Denver this past summer. The program gave City employees and law students an opportunity to participate in an accelerator to learn about entrepreneurial thinking and ways to incorporate this mindset into tackling some of the City’s most pressing policy problems. (You can view a brief video overview of GELA here.)
A few notable developments have occurred since our last update in August.
Today we released a Flatirons Report on GELA that details the program, the lessons learned, and some ways in which we plan to improve the program for next year. It also serves as a blueprint for other governments to implement a GELA program of their own.
Additionally, we are thrilled to let you know that two of the four problem statements tackled by the GELA fellows are moving along very well in the implementation stage. What’s been deemed the “Homeless Transportation project” has resulted in plans to innovate transit services for the homeless by purchasing new buses and, notably, offering $700,000 in savings while increasing the service provided to the homeless. This proposal has been incorporated into the Mayor’s budget for next year, and pending City Council approval, will begin with the purchase of these new buses and their rollout next year.
HomeworkHome is the solution to address the challenge of increasing affordable broadband internet access for low-income residents. HomeworkHome has launched a pilot study whereby around 100 free laptops and internet connections were given in September to students of Compass Academy, a charter middle school that serves low-income students in Denver. PCs for People provided the technology, and the University of Colorado Denver’s School of Education & Human Development will be evaluating the efficacy of the program throughout this school year. Check out this video from the Pitch Night in July, which explains all four problems and proposed solutions.
I am pleased to see this progress in a mere two months following the Pitch Night, and I look forward to the progress of the other two proposed problems and their solutions. Equally compelling is learning that several of the City employees who participated in GELA have since received promotions, which they credit in large part to their accelerator experience.
I thank the community leaders who have given their time and talent to get this program off the ground. Most notably, thanks go to Dave Edinger, the City’s Performance Officer, Scott Martinez, former City Attorney, and, of course, Mayor Hancock for their leadership.
We are currently planning for the 2017 GELA program and identifying ways in which we can improve, expand, and continue to support the Silicon Flatirons tenets of supporting entrepreneurship and developing the professionals who are ready to lead.
If you have ideas on how to increase entrepreneurial thinking in government, I would love to hear them at firstname.lastname@example.org.