Dallas Rogers City Road podcast is recorded on the unceded lands of the Gadigal people. Hello and welcome back to Innovating Cities, a podcast series on City Road podcast and I'm Dallas Rogers. This is a short podcast series from the University of Wollongong, the University of Sydney and the University of Auckland. Episode three innovating urban governance: the creative bureaucrat deals with breaking the stereotypes about people working inside city governments and looks at how they're dealing with the innovation approaches we've been hearing about in the previous episodes. Enjoy.
Tom Baker The idea that bureaucracies can be creative goes against common ideas we have of local government. But recently that's starting to change.
Anne-Marie Croce My role is be a creative problem solver, be a storyteller and bring that forward.
Brad Badelt It's just really important for a lot of staff to have that aspect of their job that’s a bit more creative and a bit more experimental and frankly, a bit more fun
Tom Baker We are Tom Baker from the University of Auckland
Pauline McGuirk And Pauline McGuirk from the University of Wollongong with Robyn Dowling and Sophia Maalsen from the University of Sydney. We're a research team that's been funded by the Australian Research Council to investigate the range of innovation initiatives that city governments across the world are rolling out as they try to address the challenges facing cities.
Tom Baker And this is Innovating Cities, a special podcast series that examines how city governments are using innovative approaches to address urban problems and to make cities better. Our podcasts are produced on the unceded lands of the Dharawal, Ilouri and Wadi Wadi peoples, and the lands of Ngati Whatua o Orakei in Tamaki Makaurau. We pay our respects to the traditional custodians of these lands and to country itself. Let's start out with the word association task, Pauline. I know this is a little strange, but I want to test something out. I'll say something and you tell me the words that come to your mind. Are you ready?
Pauline McGuirk Mm hmm. Okay.
Tom Baker Bureaucracy.
Pauline McGuirk Orderly. Dependable. Consistent. Maybe opaque. Kafkaesque. Rule bound. Constraining. I'm on a roll now. Slow. I could go on.
Tom Baker That's perfect. What about local government or municipality?
Pauline McGuirk I'd say roads, rates and rubbish. You know that Australian catchphrase for local governments, I'd say. Libraries. Parks. I might say routine. Everyday public services, maybe I'd say community.
Tom Baker Well, I think most people, myself included, would have pretty similar word associations if we put them on the spot because when we think about the bureaucracy of local government, the people and the processes that do the work of local government, we tend to think about something pretty staid, pretty unglamorous and something pretty consistent and predictable. If you're on the inside of government bureaucracy, it might feel monotonous. If you're on the receiving end, it might feel frustrating. Now, I'm not suggesting this is a fair representation, that certainly doesn't capture the more varied reality of local government. But like many stereotypes, we have to admit there is a kernel of truth here. And as someone who did a stint in local government, I can certainly vouch for that. But what if local government bureaucracy was innovative? What if local government workers got things done not just through following rules and consistent processes, but through risk taking, being creative and drawing on charisma? What if local government wasn't seen as boring but instead, and I'm hesitant to utter these words, what if local government was cool?
Pauline McGuirk Over the last several months, we've been talking with people around the world who are trying to do city government differently. At the start of this episode, we heard from two Canadian based practitioners, Anne-Marie Croce from the City of Toronto and Brad Badelt from the City of Vancouver. They were getting at the idea that working in city government could involve creativity and fun, some cool stuff. And while making city government cool might be a stretch, a common goal among the people and places we've been researching is to enable city government and its workers to be more creative. So today in this episode, we're talking about city governments’ efforts to become more creative. Why do we need creative bureaucrats in City Hall? And what does it mean to be creative within city government?
Tom Baker Earlier this year in the middle of Berlin was the site of a special kind of festival. Close to the Ostbahnhof, in an old industrial building converted to an art centre, the festival hosted over thirteen hundred people. Another fifteen hundred people live-streamed the event. But this wasn't a typical type of music festival or arts festival for a city like Berlin. It was the sixth Annual Creative Bureaucracy Festival. Yep, a festival of bureaucracy and a festival of creative bureaucracy, no less. And over the course of several days at the festival, City government took centre stage. The festival featured city officials talking about things we might not always associate with city bureaucracy and its work: how to collaborate, how to build trust, mobilise imagination and shift cultures within and through city government. In a time when bureaucrat can be a dirty word, the Creative Bureaucracy Festival is a provocative and almost defiant project.
Pauline McGuirk And it's not an isolated phenomenon. In fact, it might just be the tip of the iceberg. Hidden below the waterline are many and varied experiments happening in city governments around the world. They're trying to leverage creativity as a bureaucratic mechanism or a skill in the pursuit of improvements to cities and urban life.
Tom Baker For James Corless from SACOG, the Sacramento Area Council of Governments in California, making these changes isn't easy.
James Corless I think innovation is really creative problem solving, that’s how I define it, and you’re not bound by the instruction manual or what you’ve been taught and that is what makes it hard
Pauline McGuirk But to understand why city governments are embracing bureaucratic creativity, we need to step back and ask about the problems that a creative bureaucracy is intended to solve. In other words: if creativity is the solution, what is the problem with city government?
Tom Baker After talking with city officials around the world, it's clear there are several perceived problems here. The three big ones are that city governments are not seen as adaptable enough, not effective enough, and not open enough.
Pauline McGuirk Okay. So let's work through these three problems.
Tom Baker Sure. Within these efforts to make city government more creative, the first problem they tend to diagnose is that city governments aren't adaptable enough. Now, there's a balance to be struck here. Part of what citizens need and want from city government is stability. They want their rubbish collected when it's supposed to be collected. They want their application to renovate their house assessed against consistent criteria. They want decisions about how the city develops to be based on careful, long-term plans that don't change from one week to the next.
Pauline McGuirk That reminds me of that quote from Christian Bason, the public admin researcher, where he paraphrases James Wilson from that classic book ‘Bureaucracy’ and he says ‘we ought not be surprised that organisations resist innovation, since they are supposed to resist it’. In other words, organisations organise and to organise is to make things stable and more certain. But then of course that stability risks becoming rigid and inflexible, doesn't it?
Tom Baker Yes, yes, it can lead to sticking with ways of doing things that aren't working well or that could work better because that's the way it's been done in the past. In our first episode, you remember hearing from Eliza Erickson, she was the former Director of Innovation and Strategy from the City of Philadelphia who described part of her job this way.
Eliza Erickson Helping employees realise that just because something has been done one way for 15 years and it's fine doesn't mean that we can't and we shouldn't be thinking about how to make it better.
Tom Baker And I suppose being set in our ways, it wouldn't be a major issue if the circumstances stayed the same but that's not the case. Even the small stuff, the bread and butter functions of city government, they're changing. For example, we heard from city government workers that were looking for ways to get delinquent property owners to attend to their properties. We heard from others trying creative ways to improve various aspects of what we might call urban liveability, everyday stuff about public space, city maintenance, community facilities. One city official we spoke to in the US had a neat example of this. It was about potholes, a classic problem. The city was getting complaints about how long it was taking to fix roads with potholes, so they sent out people from the city's innovation unit to ride along with pothole fixers to understand how those teams approached the task. The city officials spent at least three days a week for four months observing their work. I'm sure this would have made some passers-by scratch their heads, you know, seeing a bunch of people with notebooks, watching people fill potholes. But together, the road maintenance team and the innovation team, they trialled something new, creative even. Instead of going systematically from one major road to another major road, they made a small but significant change. Instead of working road category by road category, doing the major roads first and coming back some time later to do the minor roads, they shifted to a geographical approach and they went area to area fixing potholes on all the roads that needed it while they were in the neighbourhood. And this made a big difference to their efficiency and their relations with residents. It would be great if lots of city government issues could be dealt with like this with a touch of creativity. But there are more complicated macro issues too, and these aren't so amenable to tweaks.
Pauline McGuirk Go on. Can you explain that a bit more?
Tom Baker Okay, I'll give you some examples. Sea level rise it threatens the viability of commercial and residential areas on the coast. Rising heat levels threaten liveability. Ageing infrastructure threatens the basic functioning of day-to-day life. Unaffordable housing systems are undermining intergenerational renewal and fairness. These are some big issues that stalk lots of cities and while they can't and they shouldn't be solved by cities on their own, they're driving some of the more creative and adaptable city government responses that we're talking about. And these aren't issues that are solved through tweaks. They demand more substantial rethinking of how things are done. The dynamic response to Covid-19 by city governments is a good example here. James Anderson from Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Government Innovation Program has said, and I'm quoting here from some media coverage ‘When national governments failed in their pandemic response, local leaders stepped up in ways they’d never before imagined to meet residents’ needs for food, shelter, internet access and more’. So he thinks this shows how cities are acting beyond their traditional scope of power and responsibilities to creatively address the big issues.
Pauline McGuirk Okay, so to be more adaptable, city governments are aiming to get more creative in how they address the complex problems they're increasingly faced with. But being adaptive isn't an end in itself, right? Change for its own sake would be fairly exhausting and kind of pointless. So what are some of the other reasons that people are trying to inject creativity into city government for?
Tom Baker Well, there are two main ones. They want city government to be more effective and they want it to be more open in what it does. There are big financial and organisational barriers to being more effective in city government. So on the financial front, city governments are saddled with the biggest, thorniest problems of our time as well as the everyday stuff of service delivery. But they tend to have less ability to raise revenues through taxes and fees for services. And in the US and UK, there's been over a decade of austerity where city budgets have been slashed and that's dramatically affected their ability to maintain the services they provide to their constituencies. James Wagner from the City of Tulsa's Office of Performance Strategy and Innovation, or OPSI, paints a picture for us.
James Wagner There are so many things admittedly, and now I see it in this role, at the city that are really essential that we’re not even able to fund. So like code enforcement. Like we need more people doing code enforcement, clearly. And the city council asked for it and demands it, but we can’t afford it. And so you have to say no to lots of things that are seemingly critical, and essential, and basic already.
Tom Baker When cities are cash strapped, there's a drive to do more with less. But this constrained financial position can be so acute that city governments have a hard time diverting money away from day-to-day service delivery and toward longer term concerns. And they can struggle to divert resources toward the creative and less immediate work of making city government more effective, financially and practically. James from Tulsa sums it up.
James Wagner By increasing OPSI staff to, you know eight or ten people it would seem like you were really forgetting about some other priorities. But I think the reality is what OPSI really does is focus on the important and maybe it's like the medicine, whereas what departments do is they focus on the urgent and the symptoms. And so that's challenging though sometimes when you have symptoms that are right in front of you all the time and urgent things, where the medicine you need to develop to solve those intractable things. It's hard to put the resources into it when the symptoms are so evident.
Pauline McGuirk Mm hmm. And on the organisational front, what tend to be the barriers?
Tom Baker City governments are complex organisations. In a given city, they're among the largest organisations by workforce and by operating budget with a really diverse set of activities. So it's basically inevitable in such a large, complex organisation for so-called silos to develop where different elements of the organisation are disconnected from one another. They protect their patches and get burrowed away in the day-to-day of their work. One example of a city government trying to build creative capacity so staff can see beyond their silos is Reykjavik service design accelerator. This is an internal program for city employees where they learn different ways of working to address a particular challenge in their work. Arna Ýr Sævarsdóttir from the City's innovation unit describes how it works.
Arna Ýr Sævarsdóttir They had to come as a team and their bosses had to make space in their work for them to participate. And through a process that was from six to eight weeks, we experimented a little bit on the timeline. Through that process they learned service design, or human centred design. We use the term service design, it's more, it's the best translatable for our environment. They learned the process, did some user research, talk to the citizens ideated, they created the prototype. They went through the entire process and saw the benefit. And they saw that often enough we are tackling the wrong problem. We are tackling not the root cause, but something derived of the root cause. It impacted a lot and it gained the momentum. It was something that people wanted to participate in.
Pauline McGuirk Okay, that's a great example. So that's the effectiveness motivation then. What about city governments’ hopes around openness? That was the third reason you mentioned that has city officials turning to creativity, right?
Tom Baker Right. Okay the final reason is that city officials tend to think a creative bureaucracy will be a more open and transparent bureaucracy. Just as city governments can develop sealed off silos within themselves, they can also silo themselves from those on the outside, like residents. Let me give you an example. For the City of Toronto, much of their creative thinking through its innovation team has been directed toward ways to meaningfully involve residents in designing services. For Anne-Marie Croce.
Anne-Marie Croce Everything that we do is resident-facing, resident-impacting.
Tom Baker And to successfully engage with residents, the City doesn't just need to gain the trust of residents, the City also has to trust that residents are able to articulate their problems and needs. Anne-Marie pointed out that what is needed from the city is.
Anne-Marie Croce Trust in the process. Trust in the co-creation. Trust in the cocreating with users and understanding users, not just telling users, not just telling residents.
Tom Baker So, you know, there are pretty low levels of trust in many institutions right now, including government and city governments are seeing bureaucratic creativity as a way to open themselves up to different stakeholders to build that trust. And they're doing this by actively pursuing partnerships, deep consultation and collaboration across a whole array of voices across the community, as well as the private sector.
Pauline McGuirk Right. So we've got a good sense now of why city governments are getting creative, so to speak. They want to be more adaptable in a changing context that's been landing cities with some pretty big problems to deal with and in a financial environment that's been hostile for them. They want that adaptability to translate into being more effective at what they do. And they want to be more open to external stakeholders like residents, local businesses and the like. Okay, that's the why. I get the need for city bureaucrats to be creative. But what that doesn't tell us, though, is what exactly does a creative bureaucracy look like? So tell us more.
Tom Baker Yes, that's the question, isn't it? We're familiar with the idea of the rule bound bureaucrat operating in line with rigid processes. It's a bit of a stereotype, of course, but we can all picture it. The creative bureaucrat, on the other hand, sounds like a contradiction in terms, but it's a thing now. As we mentioned before, creative bureaucracy even has its own annual festival. So creative bureaucrats, they aren't unicorns. They walk among us.
Pauline McGuirk Aha. But how do we spot them in the wild then?
Tom Baker Well, what marks them out is what they do. And there are two types of skills or capabilities that seem to characterise creativity in city bureaucracies. The first type of skill or disposition is about problem solving. Building more adaptive city government is only possible with city workers who have an ability to look at particular processes, systems or outcomes associated with the functioning of city government and to rethink how they might work differently. They need to be able to identify a problem or issue, or perhaps a desired outcome and work creatively towards solutions. Remember the pot-hole story from earlier? That's one example. Arna Ýr Sævarsdóttir from the City of Reykjavik in Iceland described this problem solving mindset to us. Arna had professional experience in the airline industry, and that's a parallel she's drawing on here.
Arna Ýr Sævarsdóttir You're always just solving problems and putting yourself in the shoes of whoever you are dealing with. Is the citizen or is it someone who has lost their baggage? They have a problem and our obligation is to solve it, whatever means necessary.
Tom Baker Others emphasised how this problem solving mindset requires an attitude of open ended experimentation, curiosity and collaboration. One city official told us, and I'm quoting them ‘local governments are on a journey to learn and to experiment, so there's a lot of room for flexibility, a space to suggest, to learn, to develop and to improve’.
Pauline McGuirk So then when we think of local government workers and the training and background experience they have, we might imagine qualifications in public policy or urban planning, for instance. But this disposition and, you know, the way our interviewees talked of journeys, learning, experiments, it sounds to me like that that's drawing on different training and different background experiences than we might think of conventionally. Is that accurate?
Tom Baker Yes. Yes, it is. What's notable about the people we spoke to, and these are people whose jobs are essentially about improving city government from within, is that they had a range of different professional histories. They had different pathways into their current role in city government. We spoke to people who had worked in the corporate and community sectors. We also spoke to a former dental therapist or hygienist as they call them in the US. We spoke to people leading innovation initiatives that had backgrounds in religious studies rather than urban planning. And this speaks to a desire within city government to look beyond the public sector for the skills they need to make improvements. And we saw this too in the kinds of backgrounds that are sought when local governments are recruiting staff to work on particular kinds of innovation projects. A recent job advertisement for a city government position in Melbourne had selection criteria looking for people with skills and experiences that aren't domain or task specific. They were things like: experience in human centred design; a systems-thinking mindset; a history of enabling teams to create solutions; an ability to demonstrate the organisation's values. And for Anne-Marie Croce, again, from the City of Toronto, what was important was not where a person had worked so much as their ability to challenge how things have been done and to pursue solutions in different ways.
Anne-Marie Croce I like people with unique backgrounds. Somebody can come with a different perspective, experience, challenge me, challenge kind of the way that we think. Some people are very strong in communications, really strong in terms of being kind of creative in our engagement, in our recruiting to make sure that it's inclusive, diverse, where somebody might be really strong in prototyping and testing prototyping.
Pauline McGuirk And the second type of skills you mentioned before, they were relational, right?
Tom Baker Yes, that's right. It seems a bit odd at first to talk about bureaucrats needing better relational skills. Well, come to think of it, maybe that makes absolute sense. But we need to remember that city government isn't a collection of disembodied processes that act in a machine-like way. It's a collection of people working together.
Pauline McGuirk Yeah. And because city government is the closest level of government to citizens, it's also a collection of people who are engaging with those citizens on things that affect their lives in a kind of immediate way, right?
Tom Baker Sure. So improving city government from within means having people who can navigate those very human qualities of city government. The people we spoke with emphasise things like empathy, charisma and persuasion as important skills that do two kinds of things. First, they break down resistance to change within city government and second, they build trust among colleagues. Here is Eliza Erickson again from the City of Philadelphia.
Eliza Erickson I think at its core, this work is really just about like, are you a good communicator? Are you a good, you know, to some extent, like, are you a good public speaker? Do you know are you comfortable in tricky situations? Are you do know how to navigate? Do you know how to sit in a room with someone who's really resistant to your idea and, you know, try to convince them that you know what you're talking about? Are you a good writer? It's all these, I mean, I don't want to downplay them because I think they're really important, but they're it's these interpersonal, I think it's like interpersonal relationship building skills.
Tom Baker But these relational skills, they aren't just needed within the bureaucracy. They're also needed for better engaging or collaborating with residents and other external stakeholders. Michele D’Alena from Bologna's Civic Imagination Office told us about their staff who are embedded in particular neighbourhoods. They're called proximity agents and they work in really hands on ways with residents to put their ideas for local projects into action.
Michele D’Alena We have got six neighbourhoods, so we have got six proximity agents and they work on the ground. They work with empathy, using the method depending on the context to engage the people and putting inside the public policy the creativity of the community. In our laboratory, we not we don't speak only about problems, but also about the solution and the capacities of the of the community.
Tom Baker At this point it's probably important to be clear that the people we've been engaging with in our research do have a special remit to be creative. Most of them are directly connected to innovation units within local government, and their mission is explicitly to find new ways to improve how the city is governed and the outcomes it can achieve. So their job is expressly to deploy the problem solving and relational skills to innovate city government. Not every city bureaucrat has the luxury to reflect on what they do and to try new things.
Pauline McGuirk But that's not to say it's all easy, even for these people who have that luxury, who are charged with infusing creativity into city government. It doesn't make it a simple task, right?
Tom Baker No, definitely not.
Pauline McGuirk So what are city governments doing then that either helps or hinders creativity?
Tom Baker There are many factors at play, but let's focus on four big ones. And I should say with all of these, it was clear from the conversations we've had with people working in city governments internationally and we've talked to people across the US, Canada, Italy, Ireland, Iceland and Australia, it was clear that a more creative bureaucracy won't happen by itself. It takes deliberate effort. So maybe the biggest of all factors that hinders creativity within city government is not having a deliberate approach. But to get to my point, there are four big things that help. The first, and maybe the most obvious, is that city governments need to commit financial resources. They need to fund it or find ways of funding the creative approaches we're talking about. It's wishful thinking to believe that city workers will find time amid all the other demands on them to engage in the time consuming and mentally taxing work of rethinking city government. Resources buy peoples’ time and let them dedicate their attention.
Pauline McGuirk And there's a variety of different ways to structure how resources are deployed, right? It might be establishing a dedicated innovation unit within city government. It might be adding dedicated staff to an existing unit like the performance management unit of a bureaucracy. It might be funding internal fellowships or secondments across various city government functions. There's a lot of variance here.
Tom Baker Exactly. And if resources are committed, they need to be committed for a time horizon that matches the expectations of performance. Many of the people we spoke to commented on the difficulties of navigating a financially precarious situation in city government.
Pauline McGuirk Right. So the money runs out before the project can deliver. Okay, so if resourcing is key, what's the second big factor for success?
Speaker 2 That would be building strong relationships within city government and with external partners. Of course, an ability to build strong relationships is connected to that issue of funding. If your budget doesn't allow you time to develop meaningful non-extractive relationships with other parts of city government or with local communities, then that's a problem. But it's particularly a problem when you're trying to develop creative approaches to addressing the issues or challenges that city governments want to deliver on. For example, Kris Carter from the City of Boston's Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics told us.
Kris Carter A part of our model is relationship driven. So we depend on, you know, the team, the program directors within the team to build really good, strong relationships within departments and outside with academic researchers or other community based organisations because that's going to help, help no matter what. Even if we don't do a project now, we might need to lean on that relationship later.
Tom Baker Funding is crucial, but good relationships are another crucial factor for success. They create the context for new kinds of approaches to be imagined that might bring different city departments together or draw in an external organisation to reimagine how a service might be planned and delivered, for example.
Pauline McGuirk Right. And that links back to the skill sets, the dispositions and that charisma that's cropped up a few times as we've been talking. That ability to craft and maintain great working relationships across silos with different types of partners and communities that leans heavily on qualities that are fairly different to the popular imagination or the stereotype of ‘the city bureaucrat’. Okay, so let's assume we've got the resourcing and we've developed the relationships. What do we also need? What is the third factor?
Tom Baker From the people we've been talking with, it was clear that promotion and patronage is important. If a city government bureaucrat is creative in the woods and no one is around to see it, the question is, did it really happen?
Pauline McGuirk Ha!
Tom Baker That's not quite how the saying goes I know, but it's not enough to simply have useful skills and qualities that can deliver the outcomes these various innovative projects are after. People need to know about it for that work to have an impact. So a key part of enabling the kinds of creative approaches and dispositions we've been talking about is persuading people that they're worthwhile, that they do produce value. Otherwise, when they mention the creative word, they just get a collective eyeroll from street hardened bureaucrats. So the team involved needs to be able to articulate to others within and beyond city government what they do, why it's valuable, and why others should collaborate with them. One great example is Vancouver's CityStudio. CityStudio is an innovation hub that works closely with the City of Vancouver. They have an annual event called Hubbub to do precisely this kind of showcasing work, exhibiting all the projects they do with the City. Brad Badelt told us about the impact it had on him as a new employee at the City of Vancouver.
Brad Badelt I remember when I started the city, you go to Hubbub and you see your Mayor there, your City Manager, other senior staff, and, you know, projects are getting celebrated. For me, it made me want to participate in CityStudio, in part because look at this showcase that I want to be part of this, staff are really being recognised as mentors for the projects.
Tom Baker And what you hear from Brad's comments is that an important part of the promotional effort is the visible support of senior people in city government. This kind of creative work within city government is helped by managers, executives and elected officials understanding its value and acting as champions or patrons.
Pauline McGuirk And I think that brings us to the final factor?
Tom Baker Yes, and it's a tricky one. The final factor is around ownership, accountability, or perhaps what we might call control. In other words, who does a creative bureaucrat answer to? In some contexts, particularly where there's a model of strong mayoral control, like in the US, this kind of creative, bureaucratic work often happens within administrative units that sit directly under the mayor. This can be really useful because it gives that direct line to the highest elected official. And if the mayor is on board with the agenda, it can mean more resources, financial but also symbolic resources. And the symbolic resources were mentioned by Terrance Smith in the City of Mobile, Alabama's innovation unit. When he talked to us, he really emphasised how crucial a newly elected mayor’s support for their work was.
Terrance Smith I think the biggest factor is that we had a brand new mayor who was not a politician. He was a businessman. And he was set on changing the dynamics of Mobile. And so I think he also had a lot of leeway because he was a very successful businessman that people expected him to change things. And the people that may have pushed back on him the most were also his friends. And so they were they were willing to give him the leeway to try new things because they respected him and they didn't know what it meant to be new and to be different. They just knew that it was going to be uncomfortable and they were open to it.
Tom Baker When there's an influential mayor, that can mean assuming the mayor's priorities at the expense of other potentially worthy priorities or the priorities of the city council or local communities. It can also create a precarious situation if a supportive mayor leaves office and it can risk being used as cannon fodder by others in their political disagreements with the mayor. Being a pet project or a hobby horse of the mayor can certainly offer advantages, but it can become a problem. Several of the people we spoke to, and it's probably best that we don't name their names here, they were very glad their team was not closely associated with their city's mayor.
Pauline McGuirk And in other contexts where the mayor is a less powerful figure in city politics, we might be talking about the city manager or some other senior figure who gets behind and champions the kinds of creative, innovative approaches and styles we've been talking about, right?
Tom Baker Yeah, there's not a single form of control or accountability that will work across different times and places. What is certain is that attention needs to be given to the way that ownership or perceptions of ownership will affect, good and bad, the ability of the city worker to embed creative thinking into their work. From hearing a bit about the work of these intrepid and still probably atypical city bureaucrats, I think it's becoming clear that we need to shake up the image or the stereotypes of city workers. One way to do that is to better understand what the work of creativity in city government involves. We can do that through the perspectives of those doing the work. Through them we can understand what kinds of skills and dispositions are becoming part of the daily business and the future thinking of city government. We've done a bit of that today, but there's plenty more to be done to grapple with what's at stake during this quite challenging moment for city government. I'm Tom Baker from the University of Auckland.
Pauline McGuirk And I'm Pauline McGuirk from the University of Wollongong.
Tom Baker Thanks for joining us for a special podcast series called Innovating Cities, a joint project by the University of Wollongong, the University of Sydney and the University of Auckland.
Pauline McGuirk We've put links to our Australian Research Council funded research project in the shownotes, which you'll find in your podcasting app. Thanks to the City Road Podcast for hosting us. Thanks to Laura Goh and to our producer Jennifer Macey and to Emily Perkins for additional editing.