(Photo by Olivia Gillison)
The City of Philadelphia unveiled its “Innovation Lab” coworking space for city employees today.
The space, on the 16th floor of the Municipal Services Building across from City Hall, is part of the city’s overall innovation plan that includes sending its employees to “Innovation Academy” and a $100,000 fund to back public-private projects.
At a private launch event yesterday, Mayor Nutter said the lab would be a “safe space for failure,” adding that after visiting coworking spaces around town, he’s “secretly” always wanted one for City Hall.
Nutter also tipped his hat to the city’s tech scene.
“One of the reasons we’ve had growth is this innovation,” he said, referring to Philadelphia’s population spike in the last several years.
The lab, which used to be two meeting rooms, features an open floor plan, five mounted screens, whiteboards, and WiFi — the city wired the entire 16th floor of the Municipal Services Building for the lab, said Ashley DelBianco, a city staffer who’s helping to run the space. The city’s Mural Arts program also painted a mural in the space that celebrates Philadelphia’s “firsts.”
Entrepreneurs like Artisan Mobile CEO Bob Moul, Arcweb CEO Chris Cera and Benjamin’s Desk founder Michael Maher attended the private launch event, as did the School District’s chief innovation officer, Melanie Harris, and PGW’s chief innovation officer, Eloise Young.
Below, watch a video of notable Philadelphians congratulating the city on the Innovation Lab. Spoiler alert: It features Jimmy Rollins.