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San Diego Announces First Chief Innovation Officer

Also the director of the city’s performance and analytics department, Kirby Brady brings experience as a researcher to a new role that will oversee new tech and initiatives to reinvent how the city operates.

San Diego, Calif.
Shutterstock/Sean Pavone
San Diego, the nation’s eighth largest city by population, has its first-ever chief innovation officer in Kirby Brady, according to an announcement yesterday by Mayor Todd Gloria.

Brady, a native San Diegan according to her previous job summary on the city’s website, will also continue on as the director of the city’s Performance and Analytics Department, where she’s been responsible for organizing the city’s data, making it accessible and useful to decision-makers. Before that, she was director of research at the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation for four years, and prior to that spent more than six years as a senior research analyst for the San Diego Association of Governments. She has also been a spatial analyst at the Center for Sustainable Cities, a researcher at Equinox Center and a GIS specialist at Colliers International, according to her LinkedIn. She has a master’s in urban planning from the University of Southern California and a bachelor’s in regional development from the University of Arizona.

Gloria told the Times of San Diego that Brady, who is Black, is one of the few women or people of color to be named to such a post in a major American city, and he tweeted that he was proud to give her the job.

“Her unique experiences, creativity, drive and passion for civic innovation will help our city harness the data and technology we need to provide world-class service in every neighborhood,” the tweet read.

The city has been involved in a high-profile effort to roll out a huge network of smart streetlights with sensors, but it was temporarily halted last year.

San Diego officials said last year that COVID-19 accelerated their plans to use technology to reinvent how the city operates, with 5G, citizen-facing apps, organizational efficiencies and other initiatives.

"The idea is really to consolidate services and resources so people aren't having to use this particular email or that particular hotline to request a service," Brady said in July.