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San Jose, California Appoints New Innovation Chief

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Written by Ryan Johnston, January 21, 2022 | STATESCOOP

Mayor Sam Liccardo of San Jose, California announced on Wednesday that the city has hired a new chief innovation officer to lead its innovation efforts.

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The new Innovation Chief is Clay Garner, who has been with the city since 2019 and was formerly Deputy Chief Innovation Officer. He will replace former Chief Innovation Officer Jordan Sun, who said he would set out to pursue exciting opportunities in the private sector. As Deputy Chief Innovation Officer, Garner co-founded the City’s Data Equity Program and launched a cryptocurrency-based broadband expansion pilot. He also worked with AT & T to provide residents with approximately 16,000 Wi-Fi hotspots during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Garner told StateScoop that plans to become a new leader in the San Jose Innovation Office will take advantage of cities close to Silicon Valley tech companies to solve pressing issues such as expanding broadband access and improving accessibility for digital services. He said it was to do.

In this prosperity, Garner said we have neighborhoods and communities that do not have access to these opportunities. How can you move from adding accessibility later to just auditing your product and become part of the design and process of actually building and engaging your community?

Garner said in his new position that he is responsible for helping San Jose achieve its goal of connecting 300,000 people to the Internet by the end of 2022, which was announced by Ricard in October 2020. rice field. ..

According to Garner, there is a tremendous opportunity for technicians to improve their emergency response capabilities. It’s like the next generation of 911, and at the same time, we want to make sure we’re building a muscle of privacy transparency no matter what we’re doing in public security, so the technology doesn’t hurt the most vulnerable communities. ..

Garner, who is fluent in Spanish and Mandarin and can speak Indonesian, is currently leading innovation in one of the most diverse cities in the United States. In this city, 57% of residents speak languages ​​other than English at home. According to Garner, it’s almost four languages, so you can sympathize with residents who may have difficulty using some of the city’s services written in English.

“This is mainly for many residents who use English services and have difficulty understanding the platforms they need and use, not just the language, but also different communities and different languages. I think we’ll build a baseline of empathy. Basically, where are you and how can you meet people? “

Meeting people from other cultures was a lifelong pursuit for Garner, who became viral in China as a U.S. high school student to cover popular Chinese pop songs to improve his Mandarin skills. .. Going under the nickname Gaoshan, or the High Mountains of Mandarin (which is ironic given that Garner is only 5 feet 7 inches high), what Garner’s cover is on Chinese social media platforms such as Sina Weibo and Youku. Obtained millions of views. His popularity allowed him to broadcast live on Chinese and Taiwanese television, and at least one media called him “Justin Bieber in China.”

Garner hasn’t released music for a few years, but he says he’s still writing songs, and the viral video of his musical performance is still online. But besides expanding his worldview, Garner said he acknowledged his musical career by giving him an artistic perspective that is often lacking in government programming.

When you think of a plan, policy or program, is it often missing from the equation? How do you really promote that extra level of life? Garner said.

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