Los Angeles' Metro is creating an Office of Extraordinary Innovation (OEI) to champion new ideas for improving mobility throughout Los Angeles County, while helping Metro set an innovative and fiscally responsible course for the future, according to agency officials.
The small OEI team will be the clearing house, as well as the creative engine, for inventive plans, practices and thinking. It will consult with some of the best and brightest minds in local, national and international academia, along with those in the nation’s transportation and policy think tanks and senior transportation veterans, to understand both new and old mobility ideas and thought. It will begin a comprehensive strategic planning process that will include input from the Metro Board of Directors, employees, stakeholders and local and national partners that will help set the strategic direction of the agency for the next decade or more.
“The thought is that we want to be looking at the most out-of-the-box and untried ideas the transportation industry has ever seen in this country,” said Metro CEO Phil Washington. “We need to not be so prescriptive and set a course for the future and we want that course to be based on groundbreaking ideas, as well as depth of knowledge of excellent existing practices. We don’t know what we don’t know, so we want the world to tell us what they know and are thinking.”
The office also will evaluate and improve procurement practices to open the doors for creative and unique partnering arrangements, such as public-private partnerships. It will consider unsolicited proposals to determine technical or financial merit. It is anticipated that the group will create a type of regularly scheduled academic, community and veteran transportation professional roundtable to study and address the most pressing and cutting edge Metro and national transportation and mobility challenges and issues.
Responsibilities of the office will include:
- Informing the high-level vision for Metro through exposure to innovative people, organizations and industries.
- Supporting Metro departments in piloting new and experimental programs and policy.
- Serving as the primary liaison for new ideas relevant to Metro and the transportation industry coming from entrepreneurs, established private sector entities, academia or individual citizens.
OEI will report directly to Metro CEO Phil Washington. Staff will be drawn from every corner of the world and may be augmented by student researchers and/or fellows.