Get to Know: Chief Innovation Officers

By Data-Smart City Solutions • January 6, 2021

Innovation in city government is crucially important, as new ideas and technologies can cut costs, improve services, and increase equity. The chief innovation officer — and other similar innovation and performance roles — are nimbly meeting service goals and internal metrics while supporting city departments as they seek to improve outdated systems. In an effort to identify best practices and support local government creativity, Data Smart has compiled this list of executive-level innovation positions across the country. Please contact us to add or revise your city’s information.


Name: Haley Kadish
Title: Performance & Innovation Officer
Appointed: June 2018
Organizational Location: Office of Technology and Innovation
Responsibilities: Review processes and governmental practices to find areas of growth and innovation, particularly around community engagement and procurement.
Sample Initiatives

  • Gender Pay Equity Task Force: this initiative guides city contracting and requires that businesses seeking government contracts report gender-based pay scales and job equity. There is an established preference for companies that have minimal pay inequity.

  • The Buy Local initiative: using a data dashboard, city departments can view real-time local spending and direct their funds to smaller, local businesses.
Open Data


Name: Brendan Babb
Title: Chief Innovation Officer
Appointed: May 2016
Organizational Location: Mayor's Office
Responsibilities: Leverage the open data policy to facilitate data-sharing among internal departments and externally to residents. Improve the efficiency and the capacity of delivering services. Foster a culture of innovation, data-driven policy making, and human-centered design.
Sample Initiatives

  • Using behavioral insights, the innovation team is using automated texts to help residents find and sign up for SNAP benefits.
Open Data 


Name: Matthew Bartleet
Title: Director of the Office of Innovation Delivery and Performance
Appointed: October 2017
Organizational Location: Executive Office, reports to Mayor
Responsibilities: The team helps the city administration make progress and measure performance on city priorities, working with internal and external partners. The Office includes the Budget and Performance Team, and the Special Projects and Innovation Team.
Sample Initiatives

  • Road work and safety: the team helped develop a program that made critical safety improvements for city employee drivers, plus managed a grant that prioritized community engagement to increase general road safety.

  • Application streamlining: the team headed a streamlining process for new business license and permit applications.


Name: Kerry O'Connor
Title: Chief Innovation Officer 
Appointed: March 2014
Organizational Location: Innovation Office
Responsibilities: Work with internal and external partners to design and test innovations and foster a data-driven, innovative culture within city hall. Implement new strategy design practices, hold workshops and hackathons, and consult on human-centered design research.
Sample Initiatives

  • Idea Accelerator: an internal campaign around four signature project tracks that generated new ideas around city governance.

  • Homeless Advisory Committee: the innovation team assisted with the city's work to address homelessness, which centered on working with and soliciting advice directly from people experiencing homelessness.
Open Data


Name: Dan Hymowitz
Title: Director of the Office of Performance and Innovation
Appointed: June 2019
Organizational Location: Mayor's Office, reports to Mayor
Responsibilities: The Performance and Innovation team uses data and human-centered design to better city services and internal practices.
Sample Initiatives

  • Pandemic Remote Work: the city relied heavily on OPI during the transition to working remotely, having the team set up a brand-new internal tracking system to understand the remote workflow, which tracks who and where employees are working and if anyone is out sick.

  • Criminal Justice Work: working with the Mayor's Office and the Baltimore Police policy team, the OPI team is helping who are rewriting policies on how officers interact with youth by partnering with youth justice stakeholders on diversion programs.

  • CitiStat: the team uses data to support city service delivery by making sure that everyone in the city has equitable and efficient access to services.

Open Data Site 
Performance Measurement


Name: Devta Kidd
Title: Director of Innovation
Appointed: January 2019
Organizational Location: Mayor's Office, reports to Mayor
Responsibilities: The Director of Innovation helps accelerate innovation within city hall, providing guidance to other departments and assistance with resources. Additionally, the office improves city services by keeping current on technological advances and understanding how they might serve city residents.
Sample Initiatives

  • Innovating Leaf Collection: in order to decrease the cost and increase the sustainability of the city's leaf collection service, the Director of Innovation assembled a cross-departmental group of city employees and residents to co-design and pilot a new option.

  • Fast Forward Bloomington: a community event series for Bloomington residents to see and experience new technology, including autonomous vehicles and artificial intelligence.

  • Parklets: working with the Department of Economic and Sustainable Development, the innovation team helped research how other cities implemented outdoor dining in accordance with COVID-19 best practices, and how to fit the needs of Bloomington residents and small businesses.

Open Data Site 


Name: Tracy McKee
Title: Chief Innovation Officer
Appointed: November 2018
Organizational Location: Mayor's Office of Innovation, executive office, reports to Mayor
Responsibilities: Develop a data-driven culture that celebrates creativity and collaborates on the use of data and technology. Enhance evidence-based policy making through data and technology, engage residents, and improve city services.
Sample Initiatives

  • COVID-19: assist with the city's pandemic-related data collection and dissemination by making a COVID-19 dashboard.

  • PriorityStat: metric tracking on four Mayoral priorities, including quality of life, flooding, and transportation infrastructure.
Performance Measurement


Name: Ryan Smith
Title: Innovation Team Project Manager
Appointed: July 2017
Organizational Location: Office of Performance and Innovation, reports to Budget and Management Services Department
Responsibilities: The Performance and Innovation Office oversees innovation-related activities for the city, both by bringing in new ideas and by supporting innovative ideas from internal employees. The team also assists with strategic planning and the city's performance management system.
Sample Initiatives

  • Welcome Home pilot: this initiative works to increase upward mobility for formerly incarcerated residents and assist with reentry. Working closely with local partners, the program that helps residents returning from prison with job opportunities and other essential services.

  • Driver License Restoration Pilot: the team is helping drive the city's economic justice initiative, which does driver license restoration and expungement for low-income residents who had their licenses suspended or revoked.


Name: Elena Bolbolian
Title: Director of Innovation, Performance & Audit
Appointed: July 2017
Organizational Location: Department of Innovation, Performance & Audit
Responsibilities:  Improve the efficiency and effectiveness of city services. Measure performance on key city initiatives and goals. Bring new ideas to City Hall and launch pilot programs. Spread a culture of innovation by training employees in process improvement, data visualization and human-centered design techniques.
Sample Initiatives

  • Public Health, Fire Department and Revenue Dashboards: drawing data together from various systems and bringing them into one place in an easy to digest format for public consumption. The dashboards help the public understand COVID-19 trends, help the Fire Department monitor key information, such as the volume of 911 calls reporting flu-like symptoms across all 48 fire stations, and help the City Council and City Management understand impacted City revenues resulting from the pandemic.

  • Data Analytics: Utilizing automated systems to expedite compliance in key focus areas, including: user access permissions to the City network, duplicate payments to vendors, and suspicious procurement transactions.

  • Food Recovery Program: Working with a cross-departmental team of employees to develop a new edible food recovery program with the goal of reducing organic waste in landfills as required by California Senate Bill 1383.

Department Website
Audit Reports:
Strategic Performance Goals:

Little Rock

Name: Melissa Bridges
Title: Performance and Innovation Coordinator
Appointed: February 2017
Organizational Location: Situated in the Mayor's Office, reports to Mayor
Responsibilities: Lead open data work and performance measurement. Develop internal systems for data sharing, data privacy, and results-driven contracting. Conduct internal and public trainings on data/digital literacy.
Sample Initiatives

  • Annual Open Data Day: public events with hands on learning opportunities for the community to examine, learn about, and contribute to the city's open data work.

  • Lights On: a safety improvement measure that uses community-collected data to ensure that neighborhoods are adequately lit.
Open Data Site:

Long Beach

Name: Lea Eriksen
Title: Director of Technology and Innovation/CIO
Appointed: January 2018
Organizational Location: Technology and Innovation Department
Responsibilities: Lead the Technology and Innovation Department. Act as a tech resource and support implementation of tech solutions within city hall. Manage department budget and employees.
Sample Initiatives

  • Digital Inclusion Initiative: using an equity lens to make sure that all residents have equitable access to the Internet and technology.

  • GIS Maps and Data: the open data portal for LB, which also houses web applications and city maps created by the Technology and Innovation team.

  • Smart LB: assist with smart city development by using technology and data to better serve Long Beach residents and enhance city operations and practices.
Open Data Site:

Los Angeles

Name: Jeanne Holm
Title: Deputy Mayor for Budget and Innovation
Appointed: November 2020
Organizational Location: Mayor's Office, reports to Mayor
Responsibilities: Helps transform internal operations by bringing new technology and innovation to government functions. Focus areas include bridging the digital divide, establishing a data-driven culture, and supporting equitable service delivery.
Sample Initiatives

  • MyVoiceLA: the Budget and Innovation team helped launch the city’s first online sexual harassment reporting tool, which enables employees (and others who serve the city) to make an online report if they experience workplace sexual harassment or discrimination in the workplace.
Open Data Site:
Performance Measurement


Name: Grace Simrall
Title: Chief of Civic Innovation and Technology
Appointed: August 2016
Organizational Location: Mayor's Office, reports to Mayor
Responsibilities: As a mayoral advisor, leads Louisville's Smart City initiative, and utilizes civic innovations to improve the resident experience of digital government.
Sample Initiatives

  • The city has received national recognition for their innovation work including: 2017 Center for Digital Government and What Works Cities Platinum certification status in 2020.

  • The team manages the CNET Smart Apartment, Louisville's Waze Data Partnership, and citywide Digital Inclusion initiatives.
Open Data Site:


Name: Mike Sarasti
Title: Chief Innovation Officer and Director of Innovation and Technology
Appointed: May 2016
Organizational Location: Department of Innovation and Technology
Responsibilities: The CIO and DoIT Director is responsible for driving city innovation, modernizing internal technology systems, process improvement, and digital government/user experience.
Sample Initiatives

  • Website redesign: the Miami government website was revamped following extensive community engagement and user testing to ensure optimal performance and service for city residents.

  • City of Miami's Resident Satisfaction Dashboard: this is an interactive way to explore on resident satisfaction, based on surveys throughout the city.
Open Data Site:


Name: Brian Smith 
Title: Director of the Office of Performance and Innovation
Appointed: February 2016
Organizational Location: City Hall
Responsibilities: The Office of Performance & Innovation functions as an internal consultancy to improve resident services and help city departments make operational, structural and policy changes. The team co-designs with residents and staff, and embeds racial equity in every step of their process.
Sample Initiatives

  • Minority Business Capital: in order to assist minority-owned small businesses, Smith created a public-private model and founded his own nonprofit lender that helps minority business owners capture matching city funds.
Open Data Site:

New Orleans

Name: Melissa Schigoda
Title: Director, Office of Performance and Accountability
Appointed: November 2017
Organizational Location: Office of Performance and Accountability
Responsibilities: In addition to managing the Office of Performance and Accountability, New Orleans’ Director of Performance and Accountability promotes better city services through data-driven management, decision-making, and accountability for delivering results to citizens.
Sample Initiatives

  • Data-driven blight remediation strategies, including the BlightSTAT performance management system, use of nudging to improve compliance, and a decision support scorecard for city employees.

  • Created a portfolio to encourage analytics work in city departments, including presentation tools, an analytics typology, a website, a form for departments to express interest, and sustained programming of departmental engagement.

  • The city recently optimized its smoke alarm distribution program by identifying neighborhoods most at risk of a fire based on risk profiles. The predictive analytics algorithm takes into account variables such as detailed housing data and neighborhood demographic characteristics. The goal of the program is to save lives by the preventive installation of smoke alarms.
Open Data Site:
Performance Measurement

San Jose

Name: Jordan Sun
Title: Chief Innovation Officer
Appointed: July 2020
Organizational Location: Mayor’s Office of Technology and Innovation
Responsibilities: Leverage technology to address issues facing city residents. Improve quality of life, economic opportunities, and city services through an equity and inclusion lens. Lead and support smart city ventures.
Sample Initiatives

  • Improve internet connectivity: this is done with both Wickedly Fast WiFi (a public wifi service provided freely downtown), and SpeedUp San Jose (tracks where residents have low-speed/no internet to address lack of access).

  • Portfolio, Product and Project Office: service and stakeholder management that reviews and implements robust and secure infrastructure and tech platforms.
Open Data Site:

South Bend

Name: Denise Linn Riedl
Title: Chief Innovation Officer
Appointed: February 2019
Organizational Location: Department of Innovation and Technology
Responsibilities: Use technology, data, and strategic partnerships to improve tech usage and digital literacy within city hall and the broader community. Assist with smart procurement, help departments move to more efficient technologies and advance strategic goals through community and civic partnerships.
Sample Initiatives

  • New Transparency and Performance site: a centralized page with all of the city's SB Stat information and open data.

  • App co-development: with the Code Enforcement Department, the DoIT made an app to help rental safety inspections in the city.

  • Commuter Trust: a public-private partnership that improves transportation options and local economic development.
Open Data Site:
Performance Measurement


Name: Nicolas Diaz Amigo
Title: Chief Innovation and Data Officer
Appointed: September 2020
Organizational Location: Innovation Team (i-Team) reporting to Mayor Stephanie Miner
Responsibilities: Responsible for analyzing the city's data to help make recommendations for doing more efficient and effective work.
Sample Initiatives:

  • DataCuse open data portal and Open Data Policy developed with Sunlight Foundation up for public comment.

  • Syracuse Business Portal developed with Code for America.

  • Infrastructure work: Piloting sensors on water mains, working with Data Science for Social Good to develop predictive model for water mains, piloting street monitoring system SQUID to assess quality of city roads.

Open Data Site   

Read More: