Mayor Lee Announces 2012 Innovation Portfolio

Mayor Highlights Key Initiatives for 2012 to Embrace Technology, Make Government Efficient, More Responsive to Customers

2/23/12—Mayor Edwin M. Lee today announced his 2012 Innovation Portfolio to embrace technology and catalyze greater job creation, community engagement and government efficiency.

 “The need for innovation in government has never been greater, and we must work with our greatest resource – our human capital – to find new solutions to old challenges,” said Mayor Lee. “San Francisco is home to some of the world’s greatest talent, and through these and other innovation initiatives in 2012, we can start making government more accountable, accessible and responsive to our customers as the world’s first City 2.0.”

Highlights of the Mayor’s 2012 Innovation Portfolio are:
  • Business One-Stop: making it easier for new businesses to start and grow in San Francisco. Using this online service, businesses will be able to answer simple step-by-step questions and be presented with a clear roadmap of the required steps and forms to complete online. The goal is to have at least one business sector available online by the end of 2012.
  • ImproveSF: creating new ways for citizens to engage City Hall. The online platform will allow the City to issue public challenges inviting people to help solve city problems. Some challenges being considered are ideas for budget savings and how to revitalize Central Market for a launch this Spring. 
  • Open Taxi Access: improving access to taxis through data standards and technology. The design community will join together on February 24-25 to help the City redefine taxi access and help us define next steps.
  • Hackathons 2.0: applying design thinking to civic hacking. In 2012, the City will work with several organizations to host user-centered hackathons around veteran services, new payment platforms, transportation issues and more.
  • Open Data: advancing the City’s efforts to make our data more accessible. As part of this effort, the City is moving to a cloud-based data sharing service for launch this Spring. 
  • SmartPDF: moving the City away from paper-based processes to online forms. The Department of Technology has started a pilot launch and will continue deploying across agencies. 

In January, Mayor Lee named Jay Nath as the country’s first Chief Innovation Officer (CIO) in a mayor’s office, who will lead these innovation initiatives and introduce new ideas and approaches to make City government more transparent, efficient and focused on San Francisco residents, businesses and visitors. The CIO makes sure that technology is a driver of change in City government and a job creator. 

“We have an amazing opportunity to harness the creativity and intelligence of our community to disrupt traditional areas that have been resistant to improvements,” said CIO Jay Nath. “For 2012, we challenged ourselves to improve new business permitting; increase access to taxi services; how we engage with our constituents; and how to move our city away from paper-based processes.”

As part of his vision for innovation, Mayor Lee announced a partnership with Code for America to launch the world’s first Civic Startup Accelerator that will support entrepreneurs who launch companies to make City government more responsive, efficient and connected.  Mayor Lee also joined technology company leaders to launch the San Francisco Citizens Initiative for Technology & Innovation ( to help leverage the collective power of the tech sector to make government more responsive, efficient and help residents find employment. 

To learn more about these initiatives, visit the new page on Mayor Lee’s website at