About

Civic Innovation YYC is a new program that allows citizens, businesses, and employees to share,
collaborate and test new ideas for improving City services.

How it Works

Wondering what happens after you submit an idea? Here's how ideas move through our process.

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The Journey of an Idea

Wondering what happens after you submit an idea? There are many paths your idea may take through Civic Innovation YYC. It’s not always a linear process, but here are the stages along the way.

  • 1. Respond to A Challenge
    • The City of Calgary issues a challenge to citizens when they have a problem or opportunity that could use your help.
  • 2. Discuss and Vote
    • We collect and incubate ideas together in an open digital forum. Anyone can share, vote and discuss.
    • The ideas with the most activity (votes and comments) are selected to move forward. We also keep an eye out for ideas that are full of potential but may not receive a lot of activity.
  • 3. Under Consideration
    • City staff from across The Corporation evaluate the top ideas. The evaluation process is designed to identify potential opportunity and allow ideas to flourish early. We are looking for signs that an idea may have the potential to create efficiencies, provide better citizen experiences and improve the results of our services.
  • 4. In the Lab / Ready to Launch
    • The ideas with the most potential are selected for testing in the Civic Innovation Lab.
    • In the lab, an idea may be tested through one of our pathways to action. The goal is to minimize the cost of determining if the idea can make a difference. We do this by using tools and processes related to human centered and strategic design.
    • During testing, ideas are aligned with a City business unit who can help turn it into action.
  • 5. Taking Action
    • What worked? What didn't? What did we adopt and what did we learn?
    • This program is about continuously learning from our successes and failures. At any point, an idea may be moved to the Idea Bank where they will continue to be open for user contribution and feedback.


How We Decide What To Work on Next - Innovation is more like an art than a science. There isn't always a recipe to know which ideas are going to have the most potential. This means that we apply subjective criteria to help us start to sort through the ideas. Civic Innovation is a new frontier, so we are learning as we go. We will be sharing this journey and what we learn on this site.

After voting closes an internal team of city staff help us look for patterns and common themes. We always keep in mind a set of core principals. These include efficiency, customer experience and service results. We are also looking for ideas that help open up government to new ways of thinking and learning. This program is one part of building a culture of innovation in governemnt. Our core mission never changes: Make Life Better Every Day.



Reasons to Participate

Calgary is a city full of innovative thinkers. We’re looking for your ideas to help solve some of the biggest challenges we face as a City.

Click here to learn more about why you should participate.

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Reasons You Should Participate


Civic Innovation YYC is about opening up new ways to collaborate with The City of Calgary to find better and easier ways of doing things. And if that’s not a good enough reason to participate, here’s three more!

  • 1. Join a Community of Thought Leaders. If you want to join a community of problem solvers who are willing to roll up their sleeves and create solutions with their local government, you should participate in Civic Innovation YYC.

  • 2. Keep The Ownership Rights to your Idea. We’ve created an intellectual property framework that is friendly to entrepreneurs and business. If we create something together in the Civic Innovation Lab, you can still take your idea elsewhere to start a business. At the same time, The City will still be able to implement the solution locally.

  • 3. Work Alongside Government to Implement New Solutions. If you want to work with local government in a new platform that provides easier access to City data, expertise, and funding to accelerate and incubate new ideas, you should participate in Civic Innovation YYC.

Frequently Asked Questions

We know the innovators of Calgary are a curious bunch. If you have questions about our program, check out our FAQs or email us to learn more.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • 1. What is Civic Innovation YYC?
    • Civic Innovation YYC is an initiative that creates new ways for citizens and businesses to share, collaborate and test ideas for improving civic services. We have an online platform (that you're looking at now) where citizens can share their ideas and a physical space 'The Civic Innovation Lab' at City Hall where we collaborate and test citizen ideas.

      It all starts with logging onto this site, calgary.ca/innovation, to share your idea! You have two options, you can submit an idea to one of our specific 'challenges' or you can submit an idea to our 'Efficient, Innovative and Better Every Day challenge' which is more broad. This challenge is looking for ideas and solutions from citizens that can improve general City services and improve efficiencies within Calgary. How can we do better? How can we help to improve the lives of Calgarians every day?
  • 2. Where did this initiative stem from?
    • Civic Innovation YYC builds upon the philosophy, successes and lessons learned from the Cut Red Tape program, and will continue to foster a culture where finding better, easier ways of doing things within local government and the City of Calgary is explored and celebrated.
  • 3. Why is The City investing in this initiative?
    • Given the current economic environment, there's no better time to focus on ways to work together and improve City services. We have an opportunity to work in partnership with our citizens and businesses to uncover new ideas and solutions that can lead to better value for money.
  • 4. What types of innovative ideas are you looking for?
    • We're looking for ideas to solve some of the current challenges we face as a City. All ideas are welcome, but we're really interested in the ones that have the potential to generate value for money and improve City services to continually make life better in Calgary.
  • 5. How did The City of Calgary select the specific challenges?
    • The specific challenges came from business units within the City of Calgary who have a need to change, improve or explore further a current city service or current challenge the city is facing as a whole. We are looking for great minds, entrepreneurs and innovators within Calgary to work with us to explore and build solutions to these specific challenges. We also have a broader challenge called 'Efficient, Innovative & Better Every Day' so that we cast a wide net for ideas. We want to know…How can we do better? What can be improved? We want to hear your ideas!
  • 6. Who can participate in Civic Innovation YYC?
    • If you've ever had an idea to improve City services but didn't know where to start – this initiative is for you! We're looking for the innovators, the experimenters, the creative thinkers, and the collaborators to join Civic Innovation YYC. You can help us make a difference!
  • 7. How can I submit an idea?
    • On this site, you will see a number of specific challenges that are open for citizen ideas. If you're ready to participate by submitting, voting, or commenting on ideas, you will need to log on using a City of Calgary myID account. A personal myID account can be created with a valid email address or an existing social media login.
  • 8. What can I expect after I share my idea?
    • This platform is a public forum for exploring ideas. When you submit something here anyone can provide feedback. This means that other people can comment and vote on the idea. After a period of time a challenge closes to new submissions and we start to dig into the ideas. If you share your idea on the platform you have the option of receiving updates about how you can stay involved.

      Have an obscure idea that might not gain a lot of community support? Don't worry! We're always on the lookout for ideas that are full of potential but may not receive many comments or votes.
  • 9. How are ideas reviewed?
    • Innovation is more like an art than a science. There isn't always a recipe to know which ideas are going to have the most potential. This means that we apply subjective criteria to help us start to sort through the ideas. Civic Innovation is a new frontier, so we are learning as we go. We will be sharing this journey and what we learn through this site.

      After voting closes an internal team of city staff help us look for patterns and common themes. We always keep in mind a set of core principles. These include efficiency, customer experience and service results. We are also looking for ideas that help open up government to new ways of thinking and learning. This program is one part of building a culture of innovation in government. Our core mission never changes: Make Life Better Every Day.
  • 10. What happens to an idea after it has been reviewed?
    • The process is going to be a little different for each topic. In general, ideas, or groups of ideas, with a high potential for testing will head to the Civic Innovation Lab. We will use this site to update the idea submitter and other interested people on how they can help. Sometimes there will be opportunities for you to work with City staff to figure out how to test an idea further.

      Capturing what we learn is an important part of developing a culture of innovation. Ideas that don't move forward will live on in the Civic Innovation Idea Bank. This means they will continue to be open for user contribution and feedback. We can also revisit them down the road.
  • 11. Who ultimately 'owns' my idea?
    • You do, and you grant The City permission to use it. Check out the Terms of use for the details.
  • 12. Will every idea be implemented?
    • Because innovation is a dynamic and collaborative process we want to help develop as much potential opportunity as possible. We like to say that ideas submitted through Civic Innovation YYC are like seeds. They can grow in many different ways, and benefit from collaboration.

      By going through testing in the Civic Innovation Lab, your idea may change shape and evolve. It could combine with something else and take on a completely different shape in the end. That's what innovation is about. Testing and prototyping assumptions to deliver better outcomes for everyone in our community!
  • 13. What is the Civic Innovation Lab?
    • The Civic Innovation Lab is a new space in City Hall that brings citizens and City staff together to collaborate, test and prototype ideas submitted by citizens like you!