When San Jose, Calif., Mayor Sam Liccardo took office in 2015, he prioritized tech innovation as a means of improving service delivery and quality of life. Speaking about San Jose’s smart city vision statement released in March 2016, Liccardo asserted that the city “cannot continue providing the same services in the same ways. … To thrive, San Jose must innovate.”
The key to jump-starting the city’s progress toward its tech ambitions was to structure a new suite of offices devoted to innovation and fill them with talented people who could foster important collaborations between agencies and with the private sector. San Jose’s goal was as ambitious as it was simple: to be America’s most innovative city by 2020.