WILLIAMSBURG — The Virginia Municipal League awarded the City of Williamsburg with the 2023 Innovation Award in the category of Communications for its input-gathering Future Festivals held in the fall of 2022.
The statewide competition recognizes innovative problem-solving, excellence in management, citizen participation, and improved services to citizens, the city said.
In the fall of 2022, the City of Williamsburg hosted eight public input sessions called Future Festivals, during which attendees played games designed to gather feedback that would inform the development of the city’s two-year work plan, known as the Goals, Initiatives, and Outcomes (GIO) document.
More than 900 people attended the festivals, and more than 700 answered a GIO-related survey, resulting in more comprehensive data from a more diverse participant pool than ever before, the city said.
“Future Festivals is just one of numerous examples of our work worthy of statewide recognition,” City Manager Andrew O. Trivette said. “This reimagining of the public input process took years to execute and involved many employees, past and present, from every department of the City. Our vision is to be a courageous leader in the field of local government, so we are exceptionally proud to receive this honor from the Virginia Municipal League.”
This is the third consecutive year the city has won an Innovation Award. It won awards in the category of Risk Management in 2021 and 2022 for its drive-thru voting system and its Reserve Protection budget strategy, respectively.
The city also won the President’s Award for its Reserve Protection budget strategy last year.
“Williamsburg’s initiative was ambitious, had excellent quantifiable results, and involved a very significant commitment from the city staff from beginning to end,” the VML judges wrote.
The judges selected one winner in each of the seven categories. One of the category winners will be chosen to receive the President’s Award, which will be announced at VML’s annual conference on Monday, Oct. 9.