Mayor's Office of Innovation 2021 Impact Report

January 1, 2022

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2021 Year in review

2021 was quite a year. For the Office of Civic Innovation (OCI), it was all about collaboration and creating the space for our public and private partners to work together and tackle some of San Francisco’s most critical challenges. We also focused on sharing innovative tools and learnings with our city peers throughout the city and beyond - because as Anton Chekhov said, “knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice”, especially important during these unprecedented times.

Join us in taking a look back at our work from 2021 in this impact report!

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Empowered innovation through Civic Bridge

This year, OCI hosted two Civic Bridge cohorts and multiple sprint-based projects to help San Francisco better serve its residents. By leveraging private-sector expertise, City Departments found new ways to meet their challenges – whether it was building stronger communications with youth and their families, developing dashboards to better ensure equitable ride-share access to wheelchair riders, or designing tools to integrate strategic initiatives in law enforcement.

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Supported Citywide initiatives

The office partnered with the Committee on Information Technology (COIT) to support initiatives such as developing the City’s service inventory, which measured the digital maturity of the City’s public facing services. OCI also supported the Digital Cities project, which focuses on defining a Citywide vision for the deployment of digital cities technology that centers on the needs, priorities, and privacy of San Franciscans.

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Hosted Learning Labs to expand the City’s problem solving toolkit

Through OCI’s Learning Lab series, City staff learned about new methodologies and tools that they can adapt and adopt into their work. The series shared an in-depth exploration of approaches that have been used in past Civic Bridge projects, such as applying user-centered design principles when digitizing public services and streamlining complex data into simple dashboards.

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Shared best practices with international cities

OCI was selected to participate in the Respond, Rebuild, Reinvent (RRR) consortium which brought together nine global cities to share challenges and approaches for cross-sectoral collaboration over a series of virtual workshops. Through these peer-to-peer conversations, OCI shared – and learned – how to build better civic partnerships and explored international models of innovation.


Civic Bridge is designed to empower, facilitate, and foster innovation in the City. Over the past six years, the program has successfully matched City Departments with highly-skilled volunteer teams to create impactful and iterative solutions and strategies to improve the City’s business processes, programs, and services. This year, Civic Bridge launched 17 projects with 13 City Departments and 9 pro bono partners who dedicated approximately 3,300 hours of volunteer work valued at $660,000.

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SFMTA + ZS Associates: ZS Associates consultants used their data expertise to work with SFMTA to transform complex data sets from Transportation Network Companies (i.e. ride-sharing apps) into user-friendly dashboards that will drive deeper insights and analytics around wheelchair accessible rides – and help ensure equity to transportation.

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Our Children Our Families + Salesforce: The project team worked together to promote awareness of children’s rights in San Francisco. The team built a strategic communications framework and a toolkit that included advocacy goals and success metrics, content calendars, and a welcome kit for the Department’s partners.

Dept of Homelessness and Supportive Housing + Zendesk: Through collaborative storyboarding and HSH’s insights, the Zendesk creative team produced a video that shares the homeless reality in San Francisco, and what the City is doing to help people move off the streets – and also developed a messaging campaign and strategy to launch the video for wide outreach.

Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development + US Digital Response: USDR partnered with MOHCD to conduct a qualitative research study to understand how to best communicate MOHCD’s services and resources with Low English Proficiency (LEP) residents.

Through their work, which included interviews with local community based organizations, City Departments, and other US cities, USDR developed a set of best practices and recommendations to improve the City’s LEP engagement.

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Dept of Children, Youth and their Families + Adobe: Adobe assessed DCYF’s customer relationship management platform to help the Department better collect resident feedback and inform engagement strategies. They then built a structured framework in the CRM platform, and trained City staff on utilizing the new tool in their mission-critical work.

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San Francisco Police Department + Accenture: Accenture consultants contributed their strategy expertise to develop a change management governance charter to better equip SFPD in carrying out their strategic goals. The team also created an Initiative Inventory tool for the Department to identify, consolidate, prioritize, and manage various change initiatives.

Office of Economic and Workforce Development

+ Harvard Business School Community Partners: Building on their previous Civic Bridge project, OEWD and HBS CP partnered to develop an updated

high-level strategy and theory of change model for an equitable small business recovery in San Francisco. HBS CP also developed a prioritization matrix framework for the Department’s recovery initiatives, services, and programs.

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User research

Office of Contract Administration + Zendesk: To help streamline the procurement process for bidders, Zendesk led stakeholder interviews and user surveys – which surfaced various pain points and barriers facing businesses seeking a government contract. Informed by their findings, Zendesk developed recommendations for OCA to take the next step towards a one-stop-shop, centralized resource hub for businesses.

Since its launch in 2015, Civic Bridge has partnered with 30 City departments and 27 private organizations to produce 68 pro bono projects. More than 46,600 hours have been volunteered — adding up to $6.7 million in pro bono contributions of new ideas and impactful deliverables for San Franciscans.


Learning Labs is a bi-monthly workshop series that OCI launched in 2020. The Labs are designed to help City staff build up their innovative toolbox through an in-depth exploration of methodologies and tools that have been successfully utilized in past Civic Bridge projects. This year, City staff heard from experts at Adobe, Salesforce, Zendesk, ZS Associates, and Exygy on cutting-edge approaches - from modular design principles to data dashboarding.

Utilizing a digital maturity survey to build a more thoughtful digital engagement plan

This Lab focused on the digital maturity survey tool that Adobe used to assess the Department of Children, Youth, and Their Families’ maturity across people, process, and platforms. City staff learned how to use the survey to perform their own departmental digital maturity assessment to identify key focus areas for growth and review progress from digital transformation initiatives.

Streamlining complex data sets into manageable dashboards

City staff learned about the frameworks and Tableau tools that ZS Associates used to streamline the raw, disparate data from multiple Transportation Network Companies (e.g. Uber, Lyft) into both internal and external (public-facing) dashboards for SFMTA. Attendees also learned best practices for documenting data processes and terminology by exploring the Data Transformation Guide that was developed by ZS Associates to maintain - and improve - the dashboards.

Moving from a systems first to a user first perspective in redesigning a program

City staff explored how Zendesk was able to apply a user-first approach to help the Office of Contract Administration streamline the bidding and compliance process for businesses looking to do business with the City. The Lab focused on how to design, deploy, and synthesize stakeholder and user surveys to then inform a user-journey map of a Department’s service(s).

Utilizing modular design principles to develop an agile, user-centered program

Salesforce and SF Digital Equity provided insights into how they were able to develop an entrepreneurship and e-commerce digital skills playbook for San Francisco residents. The Lab focused on leveraging stakeholder and user feedback and using a modular design framework to create an agile curriculum, which could be used as a standalone program or to complement an existing program.

Applying user-centered design principles when digitizing government services

This Lab explored how to successfully transition from paper to digital services by utilizing a human centered approach. Speakers from Exygy and the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development shared how they were able to use an Agile approach (a continuous cycle of “research & learn, prototype, and test & iterate”) to systemically redesign the City’s affordable housing application process from entirely paper based to fully digitally accessible.


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Our Partners

The Office of Civic Innovation team Amardeep Prasad, Jane Lim, and Mathew Larson extends a hearty thank you to everyone who partnered with us this year! Our partners’ support empowers the City and County of San Francisco to be more collaborative, inventive, and responsive to San Francisco residents and visitors.

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City Partners

  • Committee on Information Technology Controller’s Office
  • DataSF
  • Department of Children, Youth and Their Families
  • Department of Disability and Aging Services
  • Department of Emergency Management
  • Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing
  • Department of Human Resources Department of Technology Human Rights Commission
  • Mayor's Office of Housing and Community Development
  • Office of Assessor-Recorder Office of Contract Administration
  • Office of Economic and Workforce Development
  • San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency
  • San Francisco Police Department
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Pro Bono Partners

  • Accenture Adobe
  • Harvard Business School Community Partners
  • Mapbox Salesforce
  • US Digital Response Zendesk
  • ZS Associates
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