Program Day 1: Local Government and Innovation

“I had no idea San Jose was doing such cool things.”

This was perhaps the most frequently uttered comment by members of the LSJ Class of 2017 during their recent ‘Local Government and Innovation’ program day. The cohort dove right into the work of Mayor Liccardo’s Office of Innovation and Strategic Partnerships where they both heard and experienced how this crack team is working to transform the way the city does business and the way in which the public interacts with the city.

Mayor Liccardo welcomed the group and highlighted his ‘Smart City Vision’ for San Jose. He shared his office is recruiting top talent from the private sector and transforming the way government does its job to be more responsive and more effective for its constituents. Leading the charge on the Mayor’s ambitious policy directives is Deputy City Manager Kip Harkness, who together with his Innovation team, turn policy into reality.

Chief Innovation Officer Shireen Santosham explained that transforming the way the city does business starts with building trust and that begins with listening, both to the positive and negative experiences community members have with government. Class members shared personal experiences ranging from having their home accidentally raided by a SWAT team to another who praised their Congresswoman for helping their child get into college.

To demonstrate how they are thinking differently about key issues, Kip and Michelle Thong got the group out of their chairs and engaging in mini innovation exercises. Kip and Michelle’s essential message about government is that, ‘it should just work.’ How the city can become self-critical, self-aware, and intuitive so the things causing people the most annoyance can be transformed are their team’s top priorities.

Cohort members left saying, “I had no idea the city was thinking in this way.”

After lunch and a tour at the US Patent and Trademark Office, cohort members made their way to Prospect Silicon Valley where they gained an inside look at how data can be used to drive decision-making. Welcomed by Rafael Reyes, the Prospect SV Vice – President, he explained how his team creates urban tech solutions for cities by implementing community programs and supporting local entrepreneurs. Energized by the impressive show of innovative projects at Prospect SV the cohort was led into a panel discussion with experts from fields as diverse as public education, crime statistics, housing, and performance auditing.

Panelists explained how San Jose is behind the curve in many ways when it comes to optimizing the use of data, particularly when linking information across sectors together. However, whether it is making sure people who are chronically homelessness are targeted sooner or mapping crimes to determine where police should focus their attention, the message is that accurate data informs best practices. Following the panel, each expert stayed to participate in a small group discussion with class members who wanted to dive deeper into a particular sector.

Again, surprise and admiration was heard from class members: “I had no idea San Jose was dealing with these big issues, and the fact we are being efficient and data driven is heartening.”

The takeaways were that trust is possible, data is essential, and civic engagement is critical to moving our city forward.

More next month!

More Posts

You Might Also Like

COVID 19 Resource Center
Preparing for the New Order: Submit Updated Social Distancing Protocols
As of July 7th, Santa Clara County’s latest health order amending the way businesses are allowed to operate under the Covid-19 pandemic has now been approved by the state to take effect Monday, July 13 after at first being rejected over the weekend by California officials. There are some important things all businesses need to know in order to open or continue their operations.
Jul 10, 2020
The Silicon Valley Organization
Public Policy & Advocacy
Accountability & Better Government Reforms – Rules Committee Agenda Item G.9
San José is the 10th largest city in the United States, yet it is stuck in the 1980’s with a management structure more suited for small cities. In times of crisis, we need government to be nimble, responsive, and accountable to the community for results and to bring local government into the 21st century. As we face the greatest series of crises in our lifetime – a global pandemic and the deepest economic recession since the great recession – we must have the people’s choice, an elected Accountable Mayor, be directly responsible for the city.
Jun 23, 2020
The Silicon Valley Organization
COVID 19 Resource Center
San Jose Al Fresco: Things to Know Before Setting Up Outside!
As of June 5th, San Jose Al Fresco is in full swing allowing businesses to utilize sidewalks to conduct business during shelter-in-place. The City of San Jose is now accepting applications, and it's FREE to apply! Once your application is submitted, you will be able to start utilizing the space in front of your business immediately, as long as you meet the terms and conditions described in the application. We put together some simple FAQ's about how you can participate in San Jose Al Fresco, and all the thing you need to know before applying!
Jun 16, 2020
The Silicon Valley Organization
Press Releases
Southwest Launches Sale, Extends Open Middle Seat, And Adds Health Declaration For Customers
Southwest announced their plans to keep middle seats open through at least September 30, reinforced its face mask policy and added another layer of confidence for travelers by requiring Customers to complete a Health Declaration prior to traveling. As Customers begin to travel again, Southwest also launched a sale offering low domestic fares starting at $49 one-way to select destinations today through June 18, 2020, 11:59 p.m., CDT.
Jun 16, 2020
Southwest Airlines
Press Releases
The Silicon Valley Organization Grieves Loss of Karolyn Kirchgesler
The Silicon Valley Organization (The SVO), along with our friends at Team San Jose and the community at large, are mourning the recent passing of Karolyn Kirchgesler.
Jun 15, 2020
The Silicon Valley Organization
COVID 19 Resource Center
FAQs: Reopening your business after shelter-in-place featuring Berliner Cohen
Q&A's from SVO member, Berliner Cohen's 6/3/2020 presentation
Jun 15, 2020
The Silicon Valley Organization
Explore ALl Posts
Follow Us

We’re on Instagram