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The Humphrey School of Public Affairs is the University of
Minnesota's school of policy and planning.

State and Local Policy Program


Local Government Innovation & Redesign Guide

The new January 2013 Guide update is available below!

The Local Government Innovation & Redesign Guide will assist local elected and appointed officials in finding new and better ways to deliver public services.

Thriving in the New Normal

Local government officials around the state face unprecedented budget cuts and increased demand for services. Confronted with these challenges, cities, counties, and schools throughout Minnesota have refused to let the traditional approach of tax increases and service cuts be their only response to budget shortfalls. They've instead chosen a path of innovation and service redesign. For example:

  • The City of Roseville implemented a false alarm charge;
  • Twenty-seven counties across the state formed joint powers agreements to purchase health care for low-income people and coordinate health care, public health, and social services;
  • A Forest Lake School District is integrating a charter school into its options for students;
  • The cities of New Market and Elko consolidated into one city;
  • Rice County formed a coalition of 14 nonprofits to improve nutrition among low-income families;
  • The White Bear School District provides art education and enrichment through a collaboration with a nonprofit;\
  • Dilworth created an ultra-high-speed telephone communication service for emergency communications;
  • North Mankato allowed the local soccer association to build new soccer fields.

Although the potential magnitude of savings from innovation and service redesign is likely far less than the size of the financial problems ahead, redesign is still necessary. Minnesota local government officials must change their organizations.

The difficulty is discovering—and actually implementing—the innovation and redesign. This work can be perplexing, complicated, and not easily replicated. With this guide as a starting point, our hope is that we will ultimately stimulate a broader discussion and idea exchange between local government officials

Now is the time to innovate. Download tools to help you with your innovation efforts. (The Guide was updated in January 2013)


Contact Public + Nonprofit Leadership Center

Humphrey Center
University of Minnesota
301 19th Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55455


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