June 30, 2015Policy Report

Louisville: Open Data, Performance Management, and Continuous Improvement

Local/ 2015/

In January 2011, Mayor Greg Fischer took office with a pledge to run city government in Louisville more like a successful business. One of his first tasks was to establish the Office of Performance Improvement (OPI) to help transform the way the Louisville city government uses data and evidence to improve outcomes for its citizens. The overall goal, according to Mayor Fischer, is for Louisville to be “the very best municipal government in the nation. Every department in the city of Louisville should at a minimum be in the top quartile of performance compared to our national competitors.”

Since its inception in January 2012, OPI has executed open data, performance management, and continuous improvement initiatives in order to achieve the lofty goal set by Mayor Fischer.

In just over three years, Louisville has:

  • identified approximately $3.6 million in cost savings in year one, including a $3.1 million reduction in unscheduled overtime, and $500,000 in increased revenue from better accounting for special events;
  • removed more than two hundred days from key administrative processes, like hiring;
  • decreased the city’s overall Lost Time Injury Rate by more than 30 percent;
  • reduced hours not worked due to sickness or work-related illness and injury by 28 percent resulting in increased productivity;
  • increased the number of youth positively engaged in community centers during the summer by over 500 percent; and
  • continually assessed the performance of multiple, unique city departments and shared performance results with citizens in a comprehensible, online format.

Louisville attributes these accomplishments to intentional efforts to use data and evidence in innovative ways, inspired by practices in the business sector. This case study explores Louisville’s overall theory of action and then dives into three key turning points in Louisville’s journey to data-driven governing: open data, performance management, and continuous improvement.