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Creating a Culture of Innovation: 10 Lessons from America’s Best Run City

Author: Julie Caulier Grice
Published Date: 1 January 2005

The accomplishments and successes of the City of Phoenix are remarkable. In 2000, Phoenix was named the best run city in America in a study of government performance conducted by Governing magazine and the Government Performance Project at Syracuse University. This recognition only served to reinforce the city's reputation for excellence. In 1993, it won Germany's Carl Bertelsmann Prize for being one of the two best run city governments in the world. Departments within the city are similarly lauded with awards, prizes, and professional recognition. Both citizens and employees give the city extraordinarily high marks as well.

A report from Pricewaterhouse Coopers Endowment for The Business of Government. Phoenix has been named the 'best run city in America' by Governing magazine. Derhardt and Derhardt's study Creating a Culture of Innovation: Lessons from America's Best Run City presents ten key lessons based on Phoenix's success.

This study examines how Phoenix has been able to develop a culture of innovation that supports and encourages cutting-edge government. Drawing from a series of interviews and other materials, this report presentsten key lessons based on Phoenix's success. These lessons focus on the values of pride, trust, empowerment, and a number of other organizational factors that have become fully ingrained in the culture of city government in Phoenix and, in turn, contributed to the city's success. Our purpose is to provide information and insight for public administrators interested in building a similar culture of innovation and change in other jurisdictions.