Our Prototyping Journey
How we are testing our idea
Cheyenne will test their ability to match owners of underutilized commercial properties with entrepreneurs, by creating a website and crowdfunding platform. Their tests will validate landlord incentives, investor interest and demand, and the need for a business liaison to facilitate matchmaking.
"I’m excited about this testing phase of our idea. Testing and prototyping is not new to the private sector, but it is for government. As we look at policies including ‘Fight the Blight’ and creating innovative solutions through programs such as our 'Buildings with a Purpose', it’s about testing our assumptions and allowing us to learn, refine, and adapt before fully implementing a concept." Mayor Marian Orr, Wyoming Network News
What we’re discovering through testing
Initially, Cheyenne assumed capital investment would be a primary motivator to get landlords and entrepreneurs involved in the program. Through testing, the team have found that a more important factor is the potential for human capital (i.e. expertise and experience) when other businesses collectively move into the area. Entrepreneurs and landlords are ready to join once there’s momentum, but want assurance from other parties that everyone is committed long term.
The process of quickly prototyping and iterating is quite new to the city. The team hasfound that being open about their journey with citizens has helped to build interest, trust and engagement. They have been inviting the community in after testing sessions to explore their learnings, as well as bringing local press along to share the process with a larger audience.
Last week we hosted our second Buildings With A Purpose event for the @BloombergDotOrg #MayorsChallenge! The event was a focus group with stakeholders to explore the role of a Business Liaison. For more info & pictures, click on the link below! Link: https://bit.ly/2K6ThA85:56 PM - 21 Jun 2018 CityOfCheyenne
I love this [test and learn methodology], I can’t wait to apply it to everything else we are working on.Marian Orr, Mayor
What we've learned
Cheyenne explored using crowdfunding to support an entrepreneur and building owner once they've been paired. Since crowdfunding is a new concept, some members of the community have been hesitant to support it. Using visual mock-ups during the testing process has been instrumental in shifting residents' mindsets away from traditional investments. They began to see that crowdfunding can be a trustworthy model.
The biggest learning curve we have faced in getting the community on board is having them understand the overall concept - especially crowdfunding.Michael Skinner, Public Information Officer