Innovation Challenge

Innovation Challenge


We received nearly 700 ideas from more than 500 city employees focused on innovative ways to advance city goals. As of December 2023, thirty of those ideas had been implemented and another 30 are in progress.

The Need

City employees are incredibly smart and creative, but before the challenge, there wasn’t a formal pathway for staff ideas to be heard by city leaders. 

The Solution

During the summer of 2022 we hosted our inaugural Innovation Challenge. The challenge asked employees to submit creative and innovative ideas with the goal of advancing the city’s strategic priorities and values. These ideas have created real world impacts for residents and staff.

Ideas in Action

Black three-wheeled bicycle with a large storage box mounted on the front.

Mobile Library

The Idea: Establish a “mobile library” to provide a library presence at community events.

Update: The library now has an e-bike and trailer (The ExciteTrike) allowing library staff to transport supplies for outdoor programs in parks and elsewhere. It’s also used to transport books that residents can check out and staff can even issue library cards out in the community.

Excite Trike
Foothills Learning Center facility with a large metal dandelion sculpture in front.

Camping + Outdoors

The Idea: Introduce families to camping and the outdoors through regular class offerings.

Update: The Foothills Learning Center hosted a camping class with a cooking component in 2023. The class was full, introducing 18 residents to camping. Moving forward the course will be offered annually with an additional class offering in 2024.

Large pile of compost with a person using a shovel to fill a red wheelbarrow.

Compost Cameras

The Idea: Add cameras to compost sites so residents can know if compost is available before leaving their home.

Update:Check out the Compost Cam in action! Since installing the cameras, staff has saved a significant amount of time as residents no longer need to call or email to ask if compost is available.

Compost Cam
Boise city street with a row of large green trees.

Community Development Tracker

The Idea: Create an online map that residents can use to see the active planning permits throughout the city. 

Update:The Community Development Tracker is online now helping residents understand what developments are happening in the city, where they are in the planning process, and how they can be involved.

Development Tracker

Airport Water Bottle Filling Station

The Idea: Install a water bottle filling station at the airport shortly after the security checkpoint, a more convenient location for users.

Update: Installed in 2023, the new fill station saved more than 130,000 water bottles from ending up in the landfill in just its first 6 months.

The city’s Innovation Challenge gave the Library the opportunity to explore new ways to serve the community and meet its evolving needs. Our ExciteTrike, an electric book bike, enables us to participate in community events, parades, and celebrations, bringing books and materials directly to readers.
Library Director Jessica Dorr

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