Drive innovation and digital transformation - FASTER and with LESS RISK

Each year, City Innovate (STIR) works to connect the world’s most innovative tech companies with government institutions to solve challenges together.

  • 38+ states, counties, and cities have used STIR to cut the time and reduce the risk involved in technology acquisition
  • 1000+ innovative technology companies have applied to STIR
  • 100+ challenges have been addressed through STIR
  • Millions of people benefit daily from solutions created through STIR

Bringing Challenge-Based Procurement to Government Everywhere

We pick up where traditional procurement practices fall short for government technology purchasing.

City Innovate (STIR) is a program that empowers government to leverage Challenge-Based Procurement to streamline technology acquisition and reduce risk.  City Innovate (STIR) provides programming, coaching, and mentoring to enable governments to express their needs in the form of a challenge to vendors - "Help us solve this problem we are having."  Vendors focus on showcasing how they can solve the problem - with an emphasis on showing government how they can do so (demonstrations, prototyping) versus telling them about it.

Challenge-Based Procurement with STIR

As part of the STIR Program, we provide education, coaching, and mentoring to governments as they create problem statements and publish them so the vendor community can respond to them.

Rapidly Address Problems: Go from idea to contract in months not years through our rapid RFP process. 80% of our government-vendor partners result in a contract–often at a significant discount.

Instead of choosing from a limited selection of legacy solutions, you can collaborate with innovate technology partners to develop or customize new tools and processes that truly meet your needs.

Find the Best Solutions: STIR unlocks creativity and innovation by focusing on outcomes, not prescriptive requirements. Attract different solutions from different types of companies, instead of the same legacy solutions from the same companies.

Review applications, create a scope of work, and collaborate with technology innovators–all in one place. STIR makes the process of finding technology solutions for any government department seamless, so you can solve more problems with the resources you already have.

Reduce Risk: Develop or test a solution in collaboration with a technology partner and only buy the product if you’re certain it will meet your needs. Never waste taxpayer funds on solutions that don’t meet your needs.

How it Works

1) Challenge Sourcing: Collect ideas for challenges from across departments and manage them through a visual drag-and-drop pipeline.

2) Identify Projects: Your team inside government turns ideas into challenge statements through a guided and structured process. Create an open-ended solicitation instead of detailing solution requirements.

3) Publish Projects: Your team reviews and publishes legally compliant solicitations to our innovation-friendly platform. Submit as many projects as your team can manage.

4) Solicitation: City Innovate actively markets your challenge to technology innovators around the world and in your community through a network of 200+ partners reaching hundreds of thousands of innovators.

5) Proposals: Startups respond to your challenges and easily submit standardized 1-2 page proposals online.

6) Review Proposals: Department staff review proposals and select the best candidates to interview.

7) Scope of Work: Select a winning candidate to partner with and create a scope of work to co-develop and test a solution.

8) 6-12 Week Collaboration: STIR’s structured model empowers you to find the best solutions to your compelling problems. Get training and support from City Innovative just when you need it. Understand when to use co-creation as a tool and how to do so in a way that is legally compliant.

9) Contract: Successful projects that complete the scope of work result in a contract.

STIR is Changing the Way Governments Procure Technology

Join the State of California, San Francisco, Norfolk, Department of Defense, and Chief Procurement Officers in 38+governments using challenge-based procurement to achieve better outcomes. Leaders like the Governor of California have issued Executive Orders to employ challenge-based procurement and many more are using STIR to change how they procure technology.

STIR is recognized by leading professional associations like NLC and NIGP, and has received national awards such as Harvard’s Innovations in Government Awards, as well as federal grants for job creation and innovation.

Michael Bevis
Chief Procurement Officer
City of Norfolk, VA
“As a procurement professional, I'm impressed with how City Innovate has created a unique and innovative approach to addressing government needs. They've developed a guided and rapid RFP process that makes it easy for governments like Norfolk to share their challenges and get responses from a large number of innovative organizations. With their RFP approach we have the ability to move forward with a contract or go through a collaborative process with startups before we decide to go into contract. There's a significant opportunity to help accelerate the adoption of innovative solutions in communities across the US through City Innovate's work.”
Full Case Study


Economic Development: STIR vendors have raised more than $250M in investments, created thousands of jobs and have had three acquisitions. Send a powerful signal that your government is serious about helping innovative technology companies succeed.

Education and Training: Put on-demand design thinking and project management training into practice and give staff hands-on experience with innovative strategies. Work in partnership with innovators to experience agile and iterative approaches to problem solving.

Inclusive Process: Level the playing field by streamlining procurement to attract under-represented innovators. More than 50% of STIR vendors receiving contracts are from under-represented communities.

Thought Leadership: Governments are frequently featured in local and national media outlets for their innovative work through STIR.

Sheila Marquises
Senior Transportation Engineer
City of Fremont CA
“Innovation is baked into Fremont's DNA. So, working with startups to solve a City problem was win-win! Typically, government agencies are looking for proven technology to address a problem and approach equipment procurement with a traditional RFP, RFQ, or bid process. In this case, we were unsure of the solution and appreciated being part of the design and development process along the way. The resulting product is much more customized to the issues we're currently facing than had we purchased technology off the shelf and attempted to make it conform to our needs."
Full Case Study

See How STIR Can Help Solve Your Next Procurement Challenge