U.S. mayors are facing challenges bigger than ever before — innovation is no longer optional.

Luckily, the 2017 Mayors Challenge is designed with this urgency in mind and is calling upon U.S. cities to think big, get creative, and produce inventive solutions to improve the lives of city residents.

Mayor Steve Adler has opened up that call to all of Austin, inviting the community to submit concepts to be considered for Austin’s application.

What is the Challenge?

The 2017 Mayors Challenge, sponsored by Bloomberg Philanthropies, is a nationwide ideas competition for U.S. cities. With 555 cities already enrolled in the competition — the highest-ever number of entrants to date — the Challenge has the potential to impact nearly 100 million residents.

The Challenge is both competitive and collaborative all at once, as cities like Austin have the chance to work alongside others to build better solutions everyone can benefit from.

In January 2018, Bloomberg Philanthropies will award 35 Champion Cities $100,000 each to test their ideas, develop homegrown solutions, and bring their ideas to life. Funding will give each city the chance to test and refine their ideas, creating a coast-to-coast laboratory for civic innovation.

In October 2018, one city will win a $5 million grand prize, and four others will receive $1 million implementation awards.

What should a submission look like?

Submissions must:

  • be a new, bold, and creative way to address an existing problem;
  • show potential to significantly improve the lives of people living in Austin;
  • show viable implementation with support from key stakeholders; and
  • be potentially transferable to other cities.

Successful ideas could reimagine or drastically improve how cities delivers services, create efficiencies, or improve citizen engagement. However, ideas that are currently being implemented and that have already been launched are not eligible for the competition.

I have an idea! What’s next?

Great! Click here for more information and here to view the formal application. If you have any questions, please contact Stephanie Gates in Mayor Adler’s office at stephanie.gates@austintexas.gov. Applications are due to Mayor Adler’s office on October 15 at 11:59 pm.

On October 20, the final submission that will represent Austin in the Mayors Challenge will be selected and submitted to Bloomberg Philanthropies.