Innovation Academy

Stuck solving new problems with an old toolbox of strategy and design tools?

Applications are now being accepted for the Triangle J Council of Governments' (TJCOG) Regional Innovation Academy. This program is the first–of–its kind in the country, and it aims to offer local government leaders from communities of every size the opportunity to develop new skills, collaborate with peers, and learn data-driven approaches for creating efficient, future-ready public-sector solutions. Selected participants will engage in six virtual classes from January to March 2021 on building creative designs, identifying community needs, measuring outcomes, piloting new solutions, improving customer experience, and communicating results.

The Academy is an initiative of TJCOG's Strategy and Innovation Network, a collaborative group of government employees working on and interested in developing their knowledge of strategy and innovation skills. A task force comprised of network individuals representing the Towns of Hillsborough and Cary, the City of Raleigh, and Wake County has guided the development of the Academy application process and syllabus.

Academy PDF

How to Apply

Spots are first come, first serve. Local government employees must apply or nominate an individual for the Academy by December 10, 2020 through this application form. Individuals must be employed by a Triangle J Council of Governments member government to be eligible; complete member list here.

Frequently Asked Questions
  1. What will be the structure for the Academy? Courses will be held across the months of January, February, and March, with each course taking up a maximum of half a day. Due to COVID-19, classes will be held virtually on the Microsoft Teams platform. Course dates and timing will be finalized with the collective cohort to ensure all are fully able to participate.
  2. How many participants will be selected for the cohort? There will be a maximum of 25 individuals selected from the cohort. Emphasis will be placed on ensuring a diverse group that includes large, medium, and small local governments, and spans urban and rural geographies.
  3. Will participants need to complete additional work or assignments outside of the courses? There will be assignments, but they will be opportunities to practice the skills or gather key information rather than an additional workload. 
  4. Are there specific roles or positions that are best suited to participate? The Academy Task Force is keeping this undefined in terms of department, as this will vary based on community size and will ensure all local governments can meet requirements. That said, ideally, participants should be someone that leadership or supervisors recognize as an emerging leader who would be able to bring the skills back to the organization and shape future decisions. The individual does not need direct experience with innovation but should be open to new ideas and interested in shifting how they work on a daily basis.