In addition to being a top tourist destination, San Francisco is considered by many to be Northern California’s cultural, commercial and financial hub — and in 2012, it was named the best city in America by Businessweek. In recent years, the city has also upped its technological game, so to speak, thanks to three key players: Chief Data Officer Joy Bonaguro and Chief Information Officer Miguel Gamiño, both appointed in 2014, and Chief Innovation Officer Jay Nath, appointed in 2012.
Together they have pushed the consolidated city-county to begin transforming to enhance government operations and meet consumer expectations.
Gamiño focuses on San Francisco’s tech infrastructure. He was integral in the 2014 launch of free Wi-Fi along Market Street, at city libraries, and in 33 public parks and spaces — an effort that recently expanded for Super Bowl 50 but will benefit the city for years to come. In 2015, Gamiño helped launch the San Francisco Business Portal and a one-year pilot that he hopes will make the city the Internet of Things capitol of the world.
“San Francisco has been aggressively moving forward with plans to develop core areas of technology impact, connectivity, digital service, and technology and infrastructure service architectures,” he said.
Meanwhile, Bonaguro is all about the data. She created the city’s first open data plan, published hundreds of new data sets, and deputized data leads in each department to educate staff on how to best produce and utilize open data. In addition, she’s leading a movement to enlist the community to create apps using the city’s open data.
“We are a data-driven city. Robust data and quality analytics serve as a foundation and cornerstone for public conversations and decisions on everything from transit and housing to services for the homeless,” said Bonaguro. “City data helps foster an ecosystem of services and applications leading to better quality of life for our residents, businesses and visitors.”
Before Bonaguro came on board, Nath linked restaurant health scores with Yelp with the goal of standardizing the data nationwide; he recruited startups and entrepreneurs to bring their private-sector expertise into government through the 2014 Entrepreneurs-in-Residence program, which in 2016 became a regional Startup in Residence program that includes three other Northern California cities; and he helped launch JobScout, a Web and mobile app to teach digital literacy skills and help job seekers find work.
“Our vision is to build a more effective, efficient and responsive government by working collaboratively across sectors,” Nath said. “We hope to achieve that vision by focusing on key policy areas to provide new tools, approaches and resources.”