San José Establishes Office of Civic Innovation

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Kip Harkness and Steven DiNoto hired to lead citywide innovation strategy to enhance efficiency and effectiveness of city services

SAN JOSE, Calif. – The City of San José has established a new Office of Civic Innovation and has appointed Kip Harkness as Deputy City Manager to lead a new effort that will capitalize on innovation and technology opportunities to enhance the quality and efficiency of city operations.

In addition, City Manager Norberto Dueñas has hired Steven DiNoto as Director of Civic Innovation and Digital Strategies to work with Harkness and recently appointed Chief Information Officer Rob Lloyd.

Together they will oversee and coordinate a wide range of projects, programs, and opportunities related to the San José Smart City Vision that aim at making the city more efficient and effective, such as public safety, demonstration projects, data analytics, sustainability, and public-private collaborations.

“Our long-term success will depend on our ability to find and use innovative solutions to meet the increasingly complex challenges facing our organization,” said Dueñas. “We’ll never have enough resources to do everything our community wants and deserves, so that means we must create and support an organizational culture that thrives on innovation and data that can help us find better ways to get the job done.

“Both Kip and Steven have a strong combination of public and private sector experience in the fields of innovation, technology, organizational development, and collaborative project management and program implementation. Their unique perspectives and skills will be valuable to our efforts to foster change and establish partnerships in the future.”

The new Office of Civic Innovation will assist city departments with strategies and support that focus on projects that align with key priorities and resources, while reducing barriers to the evaluation and use of new approaches to the way the city operates.

The civic innovation team will work closely with staff throughout the city to coordinate interdepartmental projects and resources; explore and develop tools, training, and policies that encourage and support innovation; and communicate the city’s progress and success.

The team will also coordinate with offices of the mayor and council and with outside partners in the identification, evaluation, and selection of promising new ideas. In particular, the new office will work closely with the Mayor’s Innovation Team, led by Shireen Santosham, to advance the city’s recently adopted Smart City Vision.

“Through our Smart City Vision, we’re embracing civic innovations and technologies that will improve safety, services, and quality of life for the people of San José,” said Mayor Sam Liccardo. “This office will play a critical role in achieving this vision and capitalizing on the unique opportunities available to us in the most innovative community on the planet.”


Kip Harkness
Kip Harkness returns to San José City Hall from PayPal where he served as Director of Technology Engagement for the past three years. In that role he led the company’s global technology leadership program to strategically develop PayPal’s next generation of international leaders.

Prior to that he served 15 years in a range of roles at the City of San José and its Redevelopment Agency. For 10 years he led the city’s Strong Neighborhoods Initiative that restructured how departments collaborated with residents and improved service delivery to meet pressing neighborhood priorities.

“I’m coming home to a community I love and an organization I deeply respect,” said Harkness. “This is an amazing opportunity to improve services for people and develop the city’s capacity to work in a more agile, iterative, technological approach that takes full advantage of being in the heart of Silicon Valley.”

He is a graduate of Florida State University with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and international affairs, and a master’s in urban planning. Harkness also served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Chad, and as an education consultant with the World Bank.


Steven DiNoto
Steven DiNoto comes to San José from Amazon, where his most recent position was head of the company’s Global Audit and Self-Inspection program that focused on improving controllership within financial operations, including application security and fraud prevention.

For almost four years prior to that, he led Amazon’s global corporate business assurance program, including security operations, enterprise business continuity, and incident management.

His previous experience includes managing security operations for Apple and 11 years as Chief Administrative Officer for the San José Police Department where he was responsible for the Crime and Intelligence Analysis Unit, strategic staffing planning, and technology and community initiatives.

“I’m impressed by San José’s strong commitment to innovation and new ideas, and I am looking forward to rejoining the city in this new role,” said DiNoto. “The city’s long-term focus on quality, strategy, and continuous improvement is clearly strengthened by the creation of the Office of Civic Innovation.”

DiNoto received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminology from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. He also has attended the Police Executive Research Forum’s Senior Management Institute and the Executive Leaders Program of the US Department of Homeland Security at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey.

About the City of San José
Known as the Capital of Silicon Valley, San José is the nation’s tenth largest city, and the largest
city in Northern California, with an ethnically diverse population of more than one million. San José was
founded in 1777, once served as the state capital of California, and now encompasses 180 square miles.
Facts about San José can be found here: The
City’s website is

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