Tracking Ticker Toronto

Ticker mock-up

What’s the story

Tracking Toronto Ticker was one of the Innovation Lab’s first projects.

Tracking Toronto Ticker was the winner of the first Lab Action process. It was highly supported by the judges, and the process rallied an army of motivated volunteers, ready to make it happen.

“The Ticker” is a way to tell Toronto’s story through live statistics about our society, environment and economy. It’s an innovative idea that uses data already available on the Open data catalogue, and applies the existing concept of the stock or sports result tickers. The Ticker instead displays dynamic statistics such as average house price, transit ridership, consumer price index, unemployment rate and air quality with up/down symbols indicating change in figures since last month, last quarter or last year (see sample strip below). Continue reading Tracking Ticker Toronto

Lab Action!

What’s the story

Action Justien Van Zele 2014
Action! Photo by Justien Ban Zele

In April 2012 the Innovation Lab put out a call for innovative ideas to all City staff. It was a way to generate and implement ideas collaboratively. Lab Action! was our first project of this nature, and included a process for generating, building, mentoring and selecting ideas for the Innovation Lab to work on.

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Luncha Kucha

What’s the story


Two Innovation Lab members, Vanessa and Amy, were faced with a few interesting problems:

  • Employees across the City are doing so much interesting, innovative, and challenging work but don’t often get to share it with people outside their team/division
  • Employees have a ton of knowledge, ideas, and experiences that they don’t use in their day-to-day work (ex: experience doing improv, passion for photography)
  • Employees don’t always have a lot of opportunities to improve their presentation skills Continue reading Luncha Kucha



What’s the story

TEDucation is about thinking together. Innovation happens when ideas come together, and when people are ready to make them real. At TEDucation sessions, we beam in a TED Talk (or some other online talk) from some of the best speakers on the planet, and follow it with a frank discussion about how the ideas presented apply to City of Toronto work.These events are intended for the Toronto Public Service, but we welcome all participants interested in discussing public sector innovation.

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The Storytelling Project

What’s the story

Storytelling AcumenA group of City Staff wanted to learn the art of storytelling to improve their abilities to present connect with co-workers. Adam, Clara, Graeme, Joanna, Manjit, Steven and several others followed the “Storytelling For Change” course, offered free online by Acumen+ and the Ariel Group between 2013 and 2015. Participants shared the belief that humans are hardwired to understand stories. Stories powerfully capture attention, and help connect ideas with action. We are able to share perspectives and build empathy through stories. Practicing storytelling skills can help advance the goals of the Toronto Public Service.

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Codecademy Club

City of Toronto’s Codecademy Club

What’s the story

The line between IT and non-IT staff is becoming increasingly blurred. Being able to read and use code, even at a very basic level, is quickly becoming essential for the modern workforce. In order to be code literate, there are some fundamental concepts and knowledge that is important across all varieties of code.

Codecademy is a free online platform that offers coding classes for different programming languages including Python, PHP, jQuery, JavaScript, AngularJS, and Ruby, as well as markup languages like HTML and CSS. The the Codecademy platform doesn’t require any software downloads and a user’s progress is saved online as they go.

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Data Visualization Event

get down the craft of data visualization

What’s the story

The Innovation Lab hosted an event in the fall of 2014 to introduce City staff to what’s possible with data visualizations. Arising from a need to understand the basics, and establish an entry level framework on what visualizations can do and how to create them using best practices. Honey Dacanay, a data visualization specialist who works for the Province of Ontario, was willing to share her data visualization suggestions and presentation with us.This was followed by a panel of City data users who are already proficient in the data visualization field, including Harvey Low and Carolyn Humphreys.
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