In August 2015, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro) embarked on an ambitious experiment. Could a new department with an extraordinary name bring about dramatic changes in transportation policy and innovation to a large government agency in a short period of time?
LA Metro’s chief innovation officer Joshua Schank described the creation of the Office of Extraordinary Innovation (OEI), designed to manage public-private partnerships (P3) and strategic planning for the agency. For P3s, this included overseeing a new unsolicited proposal process designed to encourage private-sector ideas for delivering Metro projects and services. OEI was also charged with developing the Metro Strategic Plan, which would clearly define the mission, vision, and goals for the agency and create a culture of innovation.
Schank’s presentation looked back on the successes and failures of the first two years of this experiment in transportation policy innovation at LA Metro and explored the path forward. This included a discussion of the challenges faced—including fierce resistance to innovative approaches and intense demands on OEI to deliver quickly—as well as the new ideas brought to the agency.
About the Speaker
Joshua L. Schank is the first ever chief innovation officer at the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro), where he leads the Office of Extraordinary Innovation. Prior to joining LA Metro, Schank was president and CEO of the Eno Center for Transportation, a national nonprofit think-tank with the mission of improving transportation policy and leadership.
Before joining Eno, Schank directed the National Transportation Policy Project at the Bipartisan Policy Center, which proposed a new vision for the federal role in surface transportation policy. Schank was transportation policy advisor to Senator Hillary Clinton during the development of the last surface transportation authorization bill (SAFETEA-LU). He has also worked as a consultant with PB Consult and senior associate at ICF International in Washington, D.C., as well as serving in positions at the Office of the Inspector General’s in the U.S. Department of Transportation and with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York City. He holds a Ph.D. in urban planning from Columbia University, a master of city planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a B.A. in urban studies from Columbia University.