Open Data Policy Lab:
City Incubator 

Reimagining institutions, investing in
innovators, prioritizing data infrastructure

Today, 56% of the global population lives in cities. This number is expected to increase to 68% by 2050. Our city governments are the stewards of valuable data, data systems and data policies. How might we better equip our cities to solve problems with data?

Cit•y In•cu•ba•tor


A program that helps public intrapreneurs within cities around the world to develop their data innovation ideas into reality by providing dedicated support across a 6 month period.

"I love the mission of the incubator. If this program could formalize a way for municipal innovators to overcome bureaucratic inertia, it would be a global game changer."

- Naysan Saran, Co-founder and CEO CANN Forecast




Data Innovations




Different Countries

Millions of residents' lives improved

2021-2022 Inaugural Program Cohort

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2021-2022 Timeline

Programmatic Offerings

Dedicated Convenings

Ongoing Programming

Data Innovation Bootcamp: September - November
Built from the principles of the Third Wave of Open Data, these weekly sessions will include four key components: Theory; Tools; Try; and Talk. They will explore subjects such as: Foundations of Data Innovation, Planning, Inclusive Innovation, Positioning, Launch Strategy and Sustainability.

Practitioner Discussion Series: November - February
Twice a month participants will learn from guest practitioners, who will provide a lecture on select subjects tailored to the needs and interests of the program cohort, followed by a group discussion.

Peer Knowledge Exchange: Monthly throughout the program
We strongly believe that innovation is a team sport and are excited for program participants to learn from and support each other throughout the program. Monthly Knowledge Exchanges, “show and tells,” will provide space for participants to share past work with each other.

Bespoke Guidance from Mentor Brain Trust: As needed throughout the program
Our Council of Mentors is a network of experts, many of whom have been public sector innovators themselves. Mentors will be matched with program participants for one-on-one guidance by the City Incubator program staff based on participants’ needs throughout the program.

City Incubator Program Staff Check-Ins: Throughout the program
The City Incubator Program Team has a wide range of experiences and are eager to support program participants however they can. During select periods throughout the program, participants will have a one-on-one meeting with a program team member and will otherwise be expected to report on progress weekly via email.

Data Innovation in Practice Series : Throughout the program
A series of webinars where the City Incubator participants can introduce the innovation they are working on to a public audience for feedback and/or knowledge-sharing.





We are excited to partner with a variety of individuals and organizations around the world eager to collaborate in helping public innovators in cities to advance responsible data innovation initiatives. If you're interested in exploring a way to support the City Incubator, email: [email protected]

Microsoft's mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to acheive more.

City Possible is a partnership model pioneered by Mastercard that helps cities develop shareable solutions to common problems that advance inclusive and sustainable urban development. Through City Possible, we’re helping unlock more possibilities for people and businesses by helping city leaders connect communities with integrated city services. City Incubator participants will have access to the suite of apps, tools and services available through the City Insights digital marketplace.

Luminate is a global philanthropic organisation focused on empowering people and institutions to work together to build just and fair societies.

New York University’s Center for Urban Science And Progress (CUSP) is an interdisciplinary research center dedicated to the application of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in the service of urban communities across the globe.

PSN is a social learning platform for the Public Sector. We connect public sector professionals around the world, to share information and learn through examples from other government organisations, while building a strong sense of community with our members.

We are a non-profit, driven by our values. We work with public, private and research partners as well as community stakeholders to foster effective, responsible, and collaborative use of data and technology and solve complex problems.

Council of Mentors

Our Council of Mentors are experts from around the world in domains such as product management, performance management, data program development, data strategy, intrapreneurship and public sector problem solving. Mentors will be available to program participants throughout their six months with the City Incubator. This is our preliminary group of mentors; recruitment of additional mentors is taking place over the summer.

Frequently Asked Questions

If after reading the FAQs you have additional questions please contact [email protected]. All answers to questions sent via email will be added to the FAQ as a resource for all interested program participants.

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