In Sacramento, civic technology guides progress

Sacramento has its sights set on becoming a major tech center in Northern California, as it simultaneously seeks to boost quality of life for its residents.

Louis Stewart, Sacramento’s chief innovation officer, told StateScoop in a video interview that civic technology and partnerships with local universities and businesses are the keys to achieving those goals via a wide range of initiatives.

“Within in innovation and economic development within the city of Sacramento, we’re looking at how do we do civic technology? How do we make sure that there’s evidence-based policy happening?” Stewart said.

Within any policy area — whether it’s mobility solutions, environmental sustainability, public health or homelessness — he said that civic tech is the starting point both for encouraging economic growth in the region and providing excellent customer service to residents as they reach out to their local government.

“If we’re trying to do climate change, we’re trying to make sure that we’re talking to companies, and working with the universities to develop and implement strategies around climate change and sustainability that will help the city and the community and the region thrive,” Stewart said. “Ultimately, the civic tech piece is the most important piece.”

Stewart on government changing:

“It has to make sure that it’s answering the needs of the community and especially reaching into the neighborhoods where underserved communities haven’t benefited from a lot of the advances in technology, advances in economic development over the years.”

Stewart on what’s unique about California:

“The governor has taken a digital-innovation approach to solving some of the state’s problems and getting to some solutions is going to make California stand apart from a lot of other states.”

Stewart on collaboration:

“If you’re going to recruit the biggest companies — you need the talent — we need to make sure that there’s a comprehensive solution to attack workforce development,” Stewart said.

This video was filmed at the California Innovation Summit on January 15, 2019, presented by VMware, Intel and Carahsoft and produced by StateScoop.