November 15, 2013Op-ed

Forbes: How Philanthropists Are Supporting the Rise of ‘Geek’ Cities

by Michele Jolin and Jeffrey L. Bradach

Local/ Economic/ 2013/

Geeks have moved from the back room to the corner office, and they are transforming our world.  Today, geeks are driving our nation’s competitiveness and the dynamism of the global economy, creating new solutions and technologies, and using their combination of creativity and focus on hard data to transform society.

So too our nation’s cities are evolving.  A data and results revolution is taking place in local governments across the country.  A new report by The Bridgespan Group, Geek Cities: How Smarter Use of Data and Evidence Can Improve Lives, shows the extent to which city governments have become the incubators of innovation and the drivers of results in America and abroad.  And it highlights the important role of philanthropy in helping them do it.

As more “Geek” cities emerge, the greater the progress on the most important challenges we face as a country.  From dozens of significant innovations underway that make pioneering use of data and evidence, the report features initiatives in six US cities: Baltimore, Denver, Miami, New York, Providence, and San Antonio. To demonstrate the international appeal of applying data and evidence, the report also highlights an initiative from London.

While the headlines, especially from Washington, are often about gridlock and hyper-partisanship, these geek cities are demonstrating that real progress is possible if decisions are made using what we know about what works in communities.