Mayor Lee Launches ImproveSF - A Civic Problem-Solving Platform to Challenge Online Community

Innovation to Improve City Services; First Challenge Part of SFMTA Centennial Celebration & Bring New Look to the Next Century of SFMTA

4/4/12—Mayor Edwin M. Lee today launched ImproveSF, an online social media platform that engages community problem solvers to help solve civic challenges. ImproveSF underscores the Mayor’s commitment to using innovation to provide state of the art access to information, community engagement and government efficiency.

“With shrinking budgets and increasing demand on City services, ImproveSF allows us to engage the creative and entrepreneurial people of our City to help make it work better, smarter and more efficient,” said Mayor Lee. “By embracing innovation, we make San Francisco the ‘Innovation Capital of the World,’ and celebrate and reward the incredible talent and ideas that are fostered here.”

City departments and agencies in the coming weeks will post ImproveSF challenges to the new site, which invite users to submit problem solving solutions, vote on their favorite ideas and comment on concepts that will improve how San Francisco works. ImproveSF embraces a bottoms-up approach to problem solving and makes it easier for the public to communicate and collaborate with City government. ImproveSF can be translated into more than 50 languages.

The first ImproveSF challenge will ask the creative community to participate in San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA)’s Centennial Celebration by conceptualizing a new look for the second century of the City’s transportation agency. This challenge asks San Francisco’s designers, art students and graphic artists to submit designs, a new logo and color schemes that represent the SFMTA, which manages and operates the City’s multimodal surface transportation system that includes pedestrians, bicyclists, Muni, parking, traffic, streetscapes and regulates taxis.

The first challenge invites users to leave their mark on San Francisco by working with SFMTA to co-design a new look for their new century. Users have four weeks starting today to submit and vote on innovative design-concepts. The top submissions will be shortlisted and a panel of judges will select a winner from five finalists. The winning design-concept will be produced by SFMTA’s designer and implemented for all SFMTA printed and digital materials for bus fleets, trains and signage across the City. For those who are not the creative-type, residents can also participate by voting on SFMTA problem solving solutions including travel-time reduction proposals as part of the Transit Effectiveness Project.

“The SFMTA is unique in North America in that it oversees all modes of transportation in the city. This includes everything from the iconic cable cars to traffic signals,” said SFMTA Director of Transportation Edward D. Reiskin. “As we move into our second century of operation, it’s time for a new look, one that reflects today’s MTA and our role in managing mobility in the 21st Century. We look forward to civic-minded San Franciscans getting involved and making a lasting contribution to this great city and this historic agency.”

The ImproveSF challenges are hosted on the MindMixer platform.

“We are excited to be working with what we consider to be one of most innovative cities in the world, San Francisco,” said MindMixer CEO Nick Bowden. “In addition to the fantastic partnership with the City, we are also thrilled to announce that we are opening a San Francisco office. While we will always consider ourselves a Silicon Prarie based business, a physical presence in San Francisco gives us access to the best tech talent in the world, something we couldn't be happier about.”

Upcoming ImproveSF challenges will focus on topics such as food justice, the environment and neighborhood resiliency. ImproveSF is part of Mayor Lee’s larger vision for civic innovation. In January, 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 ImproveSF and updates on future ImproveSF challenges, go to: