Articles

Google to Teach Government How to Innovate

Employees of San Joaquin County, Calif., will be supplied with Google Chromebooks and access to the company’s technology suite for comprehensive training in the development of innovative leadership.

by Wes Bowers, The Record / June 15, 2015

(TNS) — Some 50 officials at all levels of government in San Joaquin County, Calif., will be provided with access to a variety of Google apps, developers and experts to help them establish a practice of “moonshot” thinking.

The San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors voted 4-0 Tuesday to approve an agreement with SADA Systems, Inc. for comprehensive training in the development of innovative leadership.

SADA Systems, Inc. is part of Google’s Government Innovation Lab program that was launched in April.

The county will spend $160,000 for the training program, which will run from Aug. 17 through Sept. 30.

James Waterman, Google’s regional manager for state and local government, said technology and apps provided to the county will depend on what issues or needs officials want to address.

“The goal here is to create great innovative leaders and to address the opportunity that exists today to innovate and serve society,” he said. “The technology is a side note and is open to whatever platform best meets the county’s objectives.”

A minimum of 50 employees in five county departments will be supplied with Google Chromebooks and access to the company’s technology suite to assist them in training.

Those departments will include information systems, economic development, criminal justice, human services and human resources.

The anticipation is that once these 50 employees are trained, the skill and knowledge learned can be passed on to others within the county, according to Tuesday’s staff report.

For example, the information services department is hoping to use the training to improve the county’s website so it is more accessible to the public and easier to navigate.

Board Vice Chairman Chuck Winn said the training could potentially help the county market itself better to visitors and future residents.

“When you want to find out anything about any one of our cities, you go to Google,” he said. “One aspect (of this training) is how can we better represent the tremendous resources of this county, as opposed to getting the latest incident, so to speak. I think that’s one thing I’m looking forward to with this partnership.”

San Joaquin County is the third agency, following Alameda and Kern counties, to be awarded the training program from the Silicon Valley tech giant. Three additional agencies will be awarded training opportunities later this year.

“I’m thrilled San Joaquin County was selected as the third county for your innovative labs to work with,” board Chairwoman Kathy Miller told Waterman. “The fact we’re going to have 50 of our own county leaders trained in being innovators, … that’s really exciting that these skills can be spread throughout our county.”

Supervisor Bob Elliott was absent from Tuesday’s meeting.

©2015 The Record (Stockton, Calif.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.