We’re excited to announce that Denver will be participating in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ “What Works Cities” initiative, a $42 million program providing support to up to 100 cities in the areas of data-driven decision making and transparency.

As one of 21 cities in the United States currently participating in the program, Denver will receive expert guidance from the Sunlight Foundation, Johns Hopkins University Center for Government Excellence, and the Behavioral Insights Team (BIT). Through this incredible partnership, we’ll be making headway in open data, performance analytics, and behavioral economic analysis.

Enhancing our open data practice will increase transparency beyond Denver’s Open Checkbook and existing Open Data Catalog, which will help the city engage citizens in government priorities, spending, and performance better. Businesses and startups are also demanding more easily accessible public information to enable them to make smarter decisions, create new products and services, and enhance value for their customers. Improving Denver’s open data practice will better meet the needs of residents, visitors, and businesses.

In addition, this partnership will create a program that gives city employees greater capabilities around data analysis and visualization. Staff will receive training, support, and coaching on statistical techniques, performance measures, and telling an insightful story with data. This program will seek to make math meaningful and build the capacity to analyze city data and evaluate operational and policy decisions.

Finally, Denver is learning how to apply the BIT’s methodology, which uses statistics and behavioral insights to improve public policies and programs. City staff learned how to conduct low-cost randomized control trials to test different ideas, with the aim of using evidence-based decisions for enhancing the effectiveness of various initiatives. Advisors from the BIT’s New York office are guiding Denver on initial pilots using this strategy, so staff can run with it and apply it in future endeavors.

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