The City of Guelph, in partnership with the cities of London and Barrie, as well as MaRS Discovery District (MaRS), is embarking on an exciting three-year Municipal Innovation Exchange (MIX) project.
The MIX will open new economic opportunities to a range of businesses and help public sector institutions improve how they provide services. It is based on the success of the City of Guelph’s ground-breaking Civic Accelerator model (co-designed with the Guelph Lab) and MaRS’ Innovation Partnership: Procurement by Co-Design health innovation program.
The MIX will improve and expand the practice of innovation procurement in the municipal sector and create practices that are tested, scalable and sustainable. The three cities of Guelph, Barrie and London will be collaborating with vendors and community members to design open, fair, transparent and innovative practices that will be tested through six challenges over the three-year project.
Through the MIX process, businesses will be embedded in municipal planning and operations, providing first-hand experience that will help them develop solutions. A broad scope of businesses will be able to participate, from large established vendors to small and medium enterprises such as start-ups and entrepreneurs often excluded from municipal procurement invitations and tenders.
Lessons learned at the end of the project will be broadly beneficial, with solutions to issues and needs common across the municipal sector. The MIX will also produce a toolkit to help scale models and provide municipalities with proven practices and resources.
The project is funded by OntarioBuys, an Ontario government program, which makes investments to support innovation, facilitate and accelerate the adoption of integrated supply chain, back-office leading practices and operational excellence. OntarioBuys helps drive collaboration and improve supply chain processes in Ontario’s broader public sector.
Additional key sector leaders which have collaborated closely in the design of the MIX include Guelph Lab, Innovation Guelph, Guelph Chamber of Commerce and the Brookfield Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
“Guelph has a well-earned reputation as a city that’s willing to do things differently. We are pleased to have the endorsement of the province and along with the cities of Barrie and London, look forward to the benefits the Municipal Innovation Exchange will spark in our communities.”
Cam Guthrie, Mayor of Guelph
“Our ability to improve public services and drive projects like the Municipal Innovation Exchange is possible because we have strong partnerships with industry leaders. Together, we have the ability to adopt and adapt innovative practices that bring value to our community.”
Derrick Thomson, Chief Administrative Officer, City of Guelph
“Our government is committed to funding forward-thinking approaches to procurement. The City of Guelph’s Municipal Innovation Exchange project will demonstrate new ways to create solutions for complex municipal problems by introducing leading-edge procurement practices that are scalable and sustainable. Building an innovative and modern procurement process is part of the Ontario government’s economic plan to build prosperity for people across the province.”
Tracy MacCharles, Minister, Ministry of Government and Consumer Services
“I’ve always said the six worst words in government are ‘we’ve always done it this way’. I’m proud that the City of Barrie is a forward thinking organization not afraid to innovate the way we offer services. We’re grateful to be able to partner with two other progressive municipalities on this exciting initiative. Barrie’s growing start-up community and culture of entrepreneurship makes the Municipal Innovation Exchange a perfect fit for our community.”
Jeff Lehman, Mayor, City of Barrie
“This is a partnership that will allow our region to take another step forward together. Over the next three years this will allow us to tackle unique challenges and revise innovation practices as we continue to lead.”
Matt Brown, Mayor, City of London
Cathy Kennedy, Manager, Policy and Intergovernmental Relations
City of Guelph
519-822-1260, extension 2120
Scott Lamantia, Senior Communications Advisor
City of Barrie
705-739-4220, extension 4529
Rosanna Wilcox, Director, Community and Economic Innovation
City of London
519-661-2489, extension 5879