Preparing San Francisco for the Next Generation of Tech

By Heyden Enochson

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Preparing San Francisco for the Next Generation of Tech

As one of the most technologically advanced cities in the world, San Francisco is the frontline for Silicon Valley’s latest and greatest emerging technology. In a region that has given birth to organizations and technology that change the world, what role does government play in regulating these industries to protect its citizens without limiting innovation?

San Francisco’ Board of Supervisors asked city staff to bring forward a set of recommendation on how the City can positively and proactively regulate the emerging technology of tomorrow without stifling the innovation.

The City commissioned OnStrategy to support a series of public input sessions to gather the input from San Francisco residents, subject matter experts and stakeholders on how they believe the city should regulate the technology of tomorrow. These sessions will help staff bring a set of recommendations to the Supervisors that reflect the broad spectrum of San Francisco’s community.

After completing two sessions, here are a few observations about why we think this process will be a success for San Francisco:

  • City staff have been hands-on helping us facilitate the process. City staff have been on the front lines co-facilitating the sessions and engaging with the public. Being involved in the process allows them to bring a set of concise recommendations that truly reflect the input from the community; their involvement also shows participants that the City is listening.
  • It’s been a collaborative effort across departments. City staff from diverse departments—from technology to transportation–have been involved. Different areas of expertise at the table bring a unique perspective of how technology affects different aspects of life in San Francisco.
  • Citizens’ participation is driving the process. From residents to programmers, public participation is the absolute cornerstone to the success of this process. With attendance that approached 100 stakeholders from the public in the last session, the City is successfully engaging with their citizens who all walk a different path.

As the project continues, we can’t wait to see how San Francisco crafts policies in an environment that is at the world’s forefront of technology. Good work, San Francisco.



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