On Tuesday, September 12th the City of Philadelphia’s Innovation Team attended the Government Innovation Pennsylvania conference, hosted by the Public Sector Network. The conference took place in the Commonwealth’s Capitol, Harrisburg. 

The one-day event brought together public sector leaders across all levels of government to network, share best practices, and elevate initiatives and ideas. The agenda included keynotes, panels, and roundtable discussions about a variety of topics including digital technology, cyber security, AI, innovation, and more.  

Our team and the City of Philadelphia were featured throughout the agenda. At the beginning of the busy day, Innovation Manager Stephanie Orlando appeared on a panel, and was joined by Emily Yates from SEPTA who was previously with our team as the Smart Cities Director. Stephanie and Emily shared top priorities for their departments in 2024. Representing the City of Philadelphia, Stephanie shared the commitment to encouraging City workers and departments to approach challenges creatively through our Innovation Academy and Fund, along with several other initiatives.  

Later in the day, Innovation Manager Tara Woody appeared on a panel to discuss “How the City of Philadelphia Harnesses Digital Services to Benefit Residents”. She shared information about how we’re improving digital services to serve employees through tools such as the Permit Navigator. The Permit Navigator was created by Smart City PHL to help residents understand the types of permits required for certain residential and commercial uses, determine the approximate permit costs, and locate related information on phila.gov, such as a permit’s application process and other details.  

Deputy CIO Andrew Buss was featured as a keynote speaker during the event. His presentation, “How the City of Philadelphia Drives Innovation and Digital Equity”, discussed the mission of the Office of Innovation & Technology and its interest in public technology and innovation. He shared how our resident-facing work has evolved and grown over the years, and how we continue to create change within municipal government. During his presentation, Andrew shared many takeaways from his career in innovation.  

Andrew’s Innovation Takeaways:  

  • Cast the work in a new light  
  • Be open to a new direction  
  • Build capacity incrementally  
  • Master the basics  
  • Remember innovation does NOT equal technology   
  • Do innovation WITH others, not TO them  
  • Implement something  
  • Practice patience  

The conference was a great opportunity for our team to connect with like-minded leaders about goals we’re collectively working to achieve as a Commonwealth: to modernize and innovate systems to better serve our constituents. We were thrilled to take part and see the progress being made throughout Pennsylvania.