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Syracuse will create an innovation team with grant

Daniel Lobo/flickr
Syracuse City Hall

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner will soon have an innovation team to help develop new ways to solve city problems.

Syracuse is one of a dozen cities to win a grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies to create an innovation team. Miner says they’ll look at using big data to solve some of what she calls the city’s "intractable problems."

"First and foremost, we’re obviously very interested in infrastructure. And we’re looking to see if we can use some of these professionals to gather data and look at what’s being done in other places and finance infrastructure," said Miner.

The mayor says she’ll bring in a new team from outside city hall. It will report to her.

"We’re going to be looking for people who can handle big data sets and can use data in a way that can help drive smart decisions," she said.

The $1.3 million in grant money will be paid out over the next three years. Miner says having the innovation team will allow the city to spend more time than it’s able to now on coming up with creative solutions to old problems.

"So what this grant allows us to do, is to look at those creative things that we think, ‘Geez, if we only had time, we could look at this and figure out how to do that,'" Miner said.

Miner says when she took office, the city’s data collection systems didn’t communicate with each other.

"We are becoming much more facile with it than we ever have been," she said. "And what part of what we have been doing is upgrading our infrastructure with our actual technology infrastructure; updating our data sets."

Bloomberg Philanthropies was founded by the former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. It focuses on a number issues, including government innovation.