The Innovation Fund

We want to hear from you!

The City of Los Angeles has a $1 million Innovation Fund, and we want to hear from you! We know that City employees have great ideas for how we can make our City more efficient and provide better service to our residents. Every City employee is encouraged to submit ideas! Ideas will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis. The best ideas will be funded in the order in which they are received. Don't wait to send in your idea(s)!

Ideas should: 
A. Be Innovative and Original - Does the idea demonstrate how it keeps Los Angeles ahead of the curve and the creativity that is the hallmark of our City?
B. Support Greater Efficiencies - Does the idea improve a process, save time, increase collaboration among departments, provide the potential for long-term benefits, or generate revenue and/or cost savings?
C. Emphasize Priority Outcomes and Quality of Life - Does the idea help create a prosperous City, a livable and sustainable City, a safe City, and/or a well-run government?
D. Be Feasible and Measurable - Can the idea be executed and measured within six to 12 months of being funded? Does the idea need funding year after year or only one time? A one-time award from the Innovation Fund should be sufficient to implement your great idea. Prior to award, each project should have clear metrics for evaluating the impact of the idea, and the Commission and staff can help develop those metrics.

Funds will be provided to the department that will implement the What IF idea.

FAQ

How will you decide which projects get funded?

We’ll score projects based on our funding criteria. Priority will be given to ideas that can be developed with clearly defined one-time start-up costs and to projects that clearly demonstrate the potential for successful results. The following criteria will be used.

Ideas should:

A. Be Innovative and Original - Does the idea demonstrate how it keeps Los Angeles ahead of the curve and the creativity that is the hallmark of our City? 

B. Support Greater Efficiencies - Does the idea improve a process, save time, increase collaboration among departments, provide the potential for long-term benefits, or generate revenue and/or cost savings?

C. Emphasize Priority Outcomes and Quality of Life - Does the idea help create a prosperous City, a livable and sustainable City, a safe City, and/or a well-run government?

D. Be Feasible and Measurable - Can the idea be executed and measured within six to 12 months of being funded? Does the idea need funding year after year or only one time? A one-time award from the Innovation Fund should be sufficient to implement your great idea. Prior to award, each project should have clear metrics for evaluating the impact of the idea, and the Commission and staff can help develop those metrics.

Do I need to know all the details and budget information about how my project would be implemented before I submit it?

No.  We look forward to receiving some ideas with a lot of detail, but we want to hear your idea even if you don’t know exactly how much it would cost to implement or how much money it would save the City.  Provide as much information as you can.

Who can submit ideas?

City employees and City Commissioners can submit ideas for Innovation Fund money.

Can I apply anonymously?

We ask that you put your real name on the form so we can follow up with you to get more information on your idea and recognize your leadership if your idea is selected to be implemented. We also give you the option of being anonymous if you would prefer.

Can I apply for this money for my nonprofit or business?

The Innovation Fund is designed to fund projects and initiatives inside the City of Los Angeles.  Funds will be distributed to City departments ONLY, not to nonprofits, outside companies, or individual employees. 

What is the deadline for submitting an application?

There’s no due date, we want to hear good ideas from City employees year round.  Projects will be funded based on their scores on our funding criteria in the order received, so get your application in as soon as possible!

Who decides which projects get funded?

The Innovation and Performance Commission, with support from the City Administrative Officer and City staff, will review the ideas and make recommendations to the City Council on which projects should be funded.  The decisions of the City Council are final.

How many projects will you fund?

There’s no specific number of projects that will be funded.  The number will depend on the number of applications received and the amount of money needed.  We anticipate funding approximately 10 projects, but this may increase or decrease.

When will you announce the first set of funded projects?

We hope to have projects ready to announce and begin work by early 2015.

What are the City’s priority outcomes that the Innovation Fund will support?

We will support projects designed to create:

  • A Prosperous City
  • A Livable and Sustainable City
  • A Safe City
  • A Well-Run Government

How much money does the fund have to give away?

The current size of the Innovation Fund is $1 million; however there is no requirement that we spend that entire amount during the first year of the program.  Only quality projects that score highly on our criteria will be funded.

Where did the Innovation Fund come from?

The City Council, acting on the recommendation of the Mayor, created the fund in the Fiscal Year 2014-15 City budget.

What if I have a good idea, but it doesn’t require any funds to be implemented?  (For example a new way of doing things at a City department)

We would like to see as many good ideas submitted as possible.  Even if the budget to implement your idea would be very small (or you don’t know if it would need one) please share your thoughts.

Who can I contact if I have a question that’s not answered here?

For additional questions, please contact Commission staff by email at innovate@lacity.org or by calling the office of the City Administrative Officer at 213-473-7500.