Quad Research Project

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The City of Colorado Springs Office of Innovation, in partnership with the City’s Office of Economic Development, undertook a two-phased research project with the Quad Innovation Partnership (Quad) for the 2019-2020 academic year. The Quad brings together teams of students and faculty from Colorado College, Pikes Peak Community College, University of Colorado Colorado Springs, and the U.S. Air Force Academy[1] to advance project-based work for area partners. In this way, partners like the City receive tactical work products while supporting the development of the region’s future workforce.

In an effort to support the City’s goal of building community and collaborative relationships that will optimize service delivery for our residents, the Quad team was tasked with the following project.

Phase I

Research successful partnerships between other cities and their local colleges and startup communities

Students researched best practices for how cities are partnering with local businesses, colleges and universities.  This will help the City of Colorado Springs develop programming and successful partnerships to enhance SmartCOS projects.

Phase II

A. Identify partners whose capabilities and interests align with the City’s objectives and develop a basic structure for how to best organize these partnerships to advance City priorities

Using the research completed in Phase I, the students were to identify potential partners the City would work with to carry out SmartCOS objectives related to technology deployment, economic development, and community services. Relatedly, students were to outline a “relationship structure” that would govern these partnerships. The purpose of having a structure like this is to ensure that partnerships produce efficient project planning and effective project outcomes.

B. Recommend ways to measure the success of Smart Cities programming and partnerships

The Office of Innovation strives to implement programming that is data-driven. However, it is often difficult to gage the social and environmental effects of some projects. To help with this, students were tasked with developing a Social Return on Investment (SROI) model. This is a model that the Office of Innovation can use to assess potential social, environmental, and economic impacts of smart citySmart Cities utilize technology and the Internet of Things to address challenges facing our community and improve the quality of life for our citizens, particularly in the areas of connectivity, energy, and resilience. Colorado Springs identified four organizational pillars to implement a vision for Smart Cities: Energy and utilities, transportation and mobility, City services, and buildings and sustainability. projects before implementing them.

The Quad research project was funded by the City of Colorado Springs Office of Innovation. Operating under Colorado College’s fiduciary, the Quad offers projects at cost to partners. The cost of the Research Project was $42,500, with Phase 1 costing $21,250 and Phase 2 costing $21,250.

The final student report and SROI measurement model will be posted to the Office of Innovation’s website upon completion.

[1] The Quad is not an entity of the Federal government and USAFA implies no Federal endorsement of the activities.