By: Julia Chen

In August 2020, the Knight Foundation granted a $60,000 initial investment to MOTI. In less than a year since, the data equity pilot team has grown from one Harvard Business School Leadership Fellow to 20 individuals spanning partnerships from San José State University to mission-driven nonprofits like Coding It Forward and data science bootcamps. The groundwork we’ve laid through early presentations at academic and industry conferences has helped us establish a profile as a reputable team in civic technology. …

OneSJ website running on mobile phone and laptop

For us, by us

What if we could harness the ingenuity and authenticity of community technologists to help address the youth and young adult mental health crisis in San José?

Our young people are suffering from a severe mental health crisis; even before the pandemic, a 2021 UCLA study found that nearly half of California’s adolescents had experienced psychological distress. These figures are not just numbers; when our students conducted their interviews to validate their own lived experiences, we recognized that mental health ranked as the number one concern of young San Joséans.

As part of the inaugural Digital Action Corps (formerly known as…

One of the first members of MOTI’s Data Equity team reflects on his journey into data science and the City of San José, and how it was supported by organizations like Correlation One that work to create equal access to the pipeline for data-driven jobs.

By: Casey Kongpanickul

For the last few years the field of data science has been one of the most desirable career paths to pursue, but how are people breaking into the field? While completing a Master of Science in Data Science from the University of California, Riverside and a data science program from Correlation One

By: Julia Chen and Christine Keung

San José prides itself on our cultural diversity — in 57% of homes, English is not the primary language spoken — and an innovation economy that includes the headquarters of companies like Zoom, Adobe, and Cisco. We’ve been lauded as the #1 most innovative big city in the U.S. and in 2019 adopted our first city-wide privacy policy.

To the outside world our place as the Capital of Silicon Valley may not merit a serious conversation around our unique challenges: how our perceived growth has further exacerbated existing inequities, e.g., our 95,000 residents without…

Task Force members Kunwarpreet Singh Behar, Angela Pham, Floriberta Sario, & Justin Mata

By: Clay Garner

It’s no secret that American local governments struggle to provide good digital experiences for their residents. Whether you’re looking to apply for a permit or find the nearest free meal distribution site, confusing and sometimes clunky public apps are the norm. But a bad user experience isn’t just inconvenient — it could be the difference between someone getting fed or going hungry. This information asymmetry also erodes trust in city hall.

Good government means good digital experiences.

In a pandemic that limits in-person interaction and community engagement, many of our more than 1 million residents now rely…

Last May, I returned from my 2nd tour to Afghanistan and deployed from one crisis to another. Upon returning to the US, I was shocked that ~100k people in Silicon Valley’s largest city suffered from the digital divide, and I couldn’t fall asleep thinking about the pains of our residents exacerbated by COVID. Fast forward to today, joining the city been one of the most rewarding experiences, and I am extremely thankful to be part of a team that include Mayor Sam Liccardo and staff, the City Manager’s Office, our not-for-profit and corporate partners. As Part 1 of this blog…

By: Apoorva Pasricha

I rode my first 1.5 hour CalTrain from San Francisco to San Joseˊ in August 2019 and power-walked the mile from San Joseˊ Diridon to City Hall in 4-inch heels. With a Moleskine under my arm, a 16-oz cup of coffee, and a Netflix-high from rewatching Parks and Recreation all summer, I was [naively] ready to start the year.

Every year, the Mayor’s Office of Technology and Innovation (MOTI) selects a year-long leadership fellow from Harvard Business School to lead high impact projects on behalf of the Mayor.

I’m a tech optimist and fundamentally believe that technology…

Civic innovators driving transformational change at City Hall

Shireen Santosham and Mayor Sam Liccardo
Shireen Santosham and Mayor Sam Liccardo

When I arrived in San José in 2016, two suitcases in tow, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I moved from the East Coast with not much more than a feeling that there was something special happening under Mayor Liccardo’s leadership in San José.

We faced a unique — and extraordinarily challenging — opportunity to revive City Hall’s role in improving quality of life for San Joséans after years of underinvestment. We knew that the City could not carry on providing the same services in the same way that it had done for decades. …

Calling all startups: help San José build community-focused solutions to critical civic challenges.

Partnering to build community-focused solutions

On December 11th, Mayor Sam Liccardo announced Unleash Your Geek 2020, the third edition of the City of San José’s annual open innovation challenge. This year, Mayor Liccardo will provide $100,000 in seed funding to accelerate the development of effective, sustainable, and community-focused solutions.

The City of San José will partner with startups to develop the following:

  • Drones for Firefighters to enhance emergency response, Fire Department
  • Real-time interpretation tools to make community meetings more inclusive for Limited and non-English Speaking Residents, Office of Immigrant Affairs
  • Improved, automated…

San José MOTI

San José Mayor’s Office of Tech & Innovation (MOTI). Let’s co-create a more inclusive, safer & transparent San José! #smartCities

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