What We’re Reading: How Startups Are Helping Build a 21st Century Government


Jeremy Goldberg, Civic Innovator

If you don’t already know and read Jeremy Goldberg, you should definitely put him on your radar.

Last year, we hosted our first “meeting of the entrepreneurial minds” at our annual SourceLink conference. There, we we pulled together 17 of the brightest minds in entrepreneurship development to talk about entrepreneurial ecosystems, community readiness, measurement and more.

Jeremy Goldberg, director of civic innovation partnerships in the Office of Mayor Edwin M. Lee, was among the esteemed thought leaders, sharing his sharp insights on how governments can—and should—be more entrepreneurial in their policies and operations.

Below, he continues that theme, sharing his insights from the launch of the second Startup in Residence (STIR) program for entrepreneurs. With that program, entrepreneurs in  San Francisco, Oakland, San Leandro and West Sacramento help develop technology-based solutions that address challenges facing local government.

As he says in his article, “We need entrepreneurs and technologists to help build a 21st century government — one that’s efficient, effective and responsive.”

Catch a snippet of his article below. 

We need entrepreneurs and technologists to help build a 21st century government — one that’s efficient, effective and responsive.


Because when you look at the transformation happening in nearly every industry and sector, startups are leading the way. Yet the public sector is one of the few remaining areas that have yet to be transformed by startups. There are a number of reasons for this but we believe one of the most critical barriers is not understanding the needs of government organizations. So what are we doing to invite more startups to consider government?

In 2014 we were the first city to embed startups in government to build new products. In our first cohort we had nearly 200 startups from 25 cities and countries apply to the program and we selected the 6 most promising startups to collaborate with government agencies across 16 weeks to build new products and services. All 6 of these collaborations resulted in innovative products for government.

Can you imagine having a new and working solution in place in just 16 weeks?

We think that speaks to the transformative power of startups collaborating with government. One of the most exciting outcomes from these collaborations was a solution to guide blind and visually impaired airport customers to their gate and other services. The application was built by a company from Vienna called indoo.rsin collaboration with our airport SFO and in consultation with Lighthouse for the Blind, a SF-based non-profit that advocates for the blind and visually-impaired.

SFO installed nearly 500 ibeacons in Terminal 2 and shared detailed maps and resources down to the location of power outlets. SFO is planning to scale the technology and adapt the software into multiple languages.

We took our learnings from 2014 and with a three year grant from the US Commerce Department and we are building on our success to expand the program regionally. This multi-city collaborative has shared nearly 27 challenges for entrepreneurs to tackle.

Finish the story in Huffington Post.