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Reimagining government in North America

Fight today for a better tomorrow

Humanity faces complex challenges like the global pandemic, climate change, persistent racial and economic inequity, and a rise in misinformation. 

But the systems, structures, and processes of government are often not set up to respond to these wicked problems; and only two-in-ten Americans say they trust the government to do what is right. 

We help governments work differently, earn legitimacy, and deliver the outcomes that matter to all residents.

What we do

We act as a learning partner for governments, supporting them to make sense of complex challenges and drive meaningful change through experimentation.

Our North America team specializes in action research, capability building and transformation, and learning communities.

  • Action research: We dig deep, push the boundaries of current understanding, and explore topics critical to better government.

  • Capability building and transformation: We help governments build the capacity to transform cultures and work differently.

  • Learning communities: We convene public servants to share knowledge, accelerate learning, and improve government effectiveness.

Our impact

We are building a future of government where public servants can better reorient government cultures, empower residents and communities, collaborate to respond to complex challenges, and innovate to co-develop solutions that make a difference for communities. Since 2018, our team in North America has impacted:

  • 275 government teams

  • 2,325 public servants

  • 12,640 residents

When we surveyed public servants and changemakers who were directly involved in our programming:

  • 96% of respondents report learning new skills

  • 92% of respondents continue using learned processes & skills after their CPI program ends

  • 96% of respondents would recommend working with CPI to a peer

Read more about our impact in the 2022 Reflect and Reimagine report

Our programs, partners, and funders

Bloomberg Center for Public Innovation at Johns Hopkins logo

Activating Innovation Champions

Equipping public servants with skills to apply, teach, and coach innovation methodology.

A program executed in partnership with the Bloomberg Center for Public Innovation that offers extension coaching to cities in the Innovation Training Program to leverage skills learned and bring them to others in City Hall through a ‘Train the Trainer’ approach.

Learn more

Built for All

Building inclusive economies.

The Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth and the Centre for Public Impact asked the experts: What is wrong with the economy? How can we fix it? See what we learned.

Get the framework

Data for Equity

Leveraging data for inclusive economic growth.

Launched by the Centre for Public Impact and the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, Data for Equity is a collaborative network of city governments working together to close wealth and opportunity gaps.

Learn more

D.C. COVID-19 Response Collaborative

Responding to COVID-19.

A "peer learning network" that worked to build a framework for D.C. schools to help each other navigate the rapidly evolving challenges of COVID-19 testing and tracing in schools.

Build your network

Earned Legitimacy Learning Cohort

Rebuilding trust in government.

A ten-week program during which governments work to address past harms experienced by marginalized communities, understand and dismantle inequitable power dynamics, and rebuild more legitimate systems.

Read the report

Earning Trust to Build Equitable and Healthy Societies

Helping US governments address health disparities.

The ET4HS program helps local governments develop innovative approaches to address health disparities. As part of the program, participating cities join an international network dedicated to learning and sourcing solutions for health equity issues.

Learn more

Failing Forward in Local Government

Building innovative government culture.

A year-long program in partnership with the National Association of County Administrators that applies a top-down and bottom-up approach to spark and sustain cultures of innovation.

Get the how to

How to Fail (Forward) Framework

Reorienting government failure and learning.

A collaboration between CPI and the Aspen Institute Centre for Urban Innovation focused on one topic: failure. Failure is at the root of any successful innovation project, but local governments’ ability to identify, learn from, and do something about failures are limited.

Learn more

Innovation Track

Fostering design-based government innovation.

A track of the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative where interdisciplinary city teams build innovation capabilities as they design, test, and prototype solutions to a pressing city problem.

Learn more

Innovation Training

Supporting collaborative government innovation.

A program executed in partnership with the Bloomberg Center for Public Innovation that supports interdisciplinary teams to build core innovation capacities as they design, test, and prototype solutions to a pressing city problem.

Learn more

Mayors Challenge

Scaling breakthrough government innovations.

A year-long competition from Bloomberg Philanthropies that asks cities to submit their most innovative solutions to pressing challenges. In 2021, 600+ cities submitted solutions to problems exacerbated by COVID-19.

Learn more

Opportunity to Impact

Evaluating investments’ for inclusive economic impact.

Developed with the Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation, O2I is a guide for evaluating an investment’s potential for positive social, economic, and environmental impact.

Use the tool

Pandemic Solutions Group

Collaborating for a better government response.

Executed in partnership with The Rockefeller Foundation, a network of public officials from across the USA devoted to rapidly scaling equitable COVID-19 testing, tracing, masking, and vaccination.

Learn more

Reimagining Public Value

Understanding and creating public value.

King County, Washington worked with CPI to expand from traditional government values of risk-aversion, control, and efficiency to their stated values of trust, sustainability, and equity.

Read the report

The Future of US Cities

Exploring how US cities are innovating to achieve impact.

Created in collaboration with Aspen Institute Centre for Urban Innovation, this work features stories of city problem solvers all over America, surfaces emerging practices from cities, and shares lessons from conversations with those within cities leading the charge.

Read the report

The Opportunity Project for Cities

Using data and co-creating community solutions.

The Opportunity Project for Cities brings together governments, community leaders, and tech volunteers to address local challenges through the power of open data and community engagement.

Get the toolkit

West Philadelphia Skills Initiative

A model for urban workforce development.

In partnership with Drexel's Nowak Metro Finance Lab, this case study details a scalable workforce development model that has effectively increased community wealth in disadvantaged neighborhoods.

Read the case study

Portland Citywide Equitable Engagement Cohort

Scaling and embracing anti-racist and equitable community engagement practices.

A collaboration with the City of Portland’s Office of Community and Civic Life to codesign an innovative, equitable, and responsive community engagement structure that supports flourishing for all Portlanders.

Read the case study

Washington Equity Program

Working to support the State of Washington’s Office of Equity to develop community engagement structures that prioritizes the needs of residents impacted by past harms and institutionalized inequities.

Read the case study

King County Metro Systems Innovation

A partnership with King County, Washington's transit agency to create the conditions for a new organizational ecosystem to empower staff to drive continuous learning and innovation efforts necessary to make the bold transition to a zero emissions fleet.

Learn more


"The CPI team has an unparalleled ability to translate big ideas into compelling action steps that lead to change. They deeply understand how to serve local governments, and all of their products and workshops are designed to inform and inspire local government innovators. Working with them is intellectually demanding and thoroughly enjoyable."

Jennifer Bradley, Executive Director, Aspen Institute Centre for Urban Innovation

"CPI is an exceptional partner for those seeking to produce thoughtful and rigorous research. Our work on the West Philidelphia Skills Initiative resulted in one of the best institutional case studies I've seen."

Bruce Katz, Nowak Metro Finance Lab at Drexel University

"We really value our partnership with CPI and are grateful for their help towards our shared mission of increasing economic prosperity for all, particularly directing capital to overlooked communities. I'm always proud to walk into a room with CPI."

Jen Collins, Fellow in Residence, Beeck Centre for Social Impact and Innovation

"Partnering with CPI should be part of every government’s playbook. From the wealth of resources, case studies, and reports to the amazing people behind them, CPI is equipping governments with the tools they need to be successful, to 'innovate with intention,' and provide better services for the communities they have committed to serve. You’ll only find yourself wondering why you hadn’t engaged CPI sooner in your journey!"

Marguerite Jones, Assistant Director, Community Development, Tarrant County
Dow Constantine

"[CPI's Reimagining Public Value] begins to outline practical approaches we, and other local governments, can take to operationalize our core values in all our actions, large and small." 

Dow Constantine, County Executive, King County, Washington
A city in Cabarrus County

“We once had a lack of communication and silos. Now [after participating in CPI's Failing Forward in Local Government], I know there are people I can go to and talk to because I don’t have to know it all myself.”

Department of Human Services Employee, Failing Forward in Local Government Participant
A bridge over a river in fall

"Participating in this project has been an honor. The fact that HR senior management selected me to be on this team - I felt validated and recognized for the work I’ve done. It was important to me to do something meaningful outside of my usual ‘run the business’ duties before I retire. It’s been amazing to work with people from 11 different departments. Hearing resident’s different experiences and perspectives has been eye-opening and I’m grateful for the chance to be a part of this team. I’d like to thank Harvard, Bloomberg and CPI for picking the City of Boise to do this!"

Andrea Armentrout, Training Systems Administrator, HR, City of Boise
Bellevue WA

“Before [participating in CPI's Reimagining Public Value] it felt taboo for workers to go into management’s office and talk to them - now it’s happening more. You get them talking and you realize it’s not that scary - and you get to know that personal side of people.” 

King County Employee, Reimagining Public Value program participant
Houses on a hill over a lake

“My viewpoints regarding management and their roles changed in many ways. [CPI's Reimagining Public Value] brought me to consider a wider variety of options. I’m open to hearing other opinions and learning to build trust with everybody, whether line staff or management.”

King County Employee, Reimagining Public Value program participant
The mayor and several city workers riding the trolley

“I feel more responsibility than ever to do [resident] engagement... The benefit of it is to slow down and make decisions that are informed on what’s good for the public… that’s the point of my job.”

Luke Feeney, Mayor, Chilicothe Read more about Mayor Feeney's participation in the innovation track
Mayor Van Johnson

"If we really want to prioritize equity, [the Bloomberg-Harvard City Leadership Initiative] is going to be one of our best & biggest chances to be able to do that. If you're able to have healthy people, you're able to change outcomes."

Van R. Johnson II, Mayor, Savannah, GA

“I really sensed the “Power of Hope” emerge through [CPI's Earned Legitimacy Learning Cohort] process. In fact, it was interesting and inspiring to experience how we moved from challenges to possibilities over the life of the engagement activities…The program allowed for important connections between the community and local government.”

Phyllis Meadows, Senior Fellow, Health Programming at The Kresge Foundation, Detroit
Professor Kasonde Bowa

“We have provided solutions in the past but they may stay in the research or the publications, they never really reach the community. The [Mayors Challenge] human design perspective allows you to see what the community actually thinks about this, and how we can make a solution that is sustainable.”

Professor Kasonde Bowa, Executive Dean of Medicine at the University of Lusaka
A young boy taking a photo of a colorful mural in Carlton County

“Great information was received through [CPI's Earned Legitimacy Learning Cohort] community listening sessions and interviews. We identified a need for people to be heard.”

Susan Zmyslony, Community Member, Carlton County

How can we help?

Let’s have a conversation about how we can work together to build a better future of government and deliver the outcomes that matter.

Centre for Public Impact US is a registered 501(c)3 Nonprofit Organization. More information on CPI's overall governance structure can be found here.