Oakland and San Francisco are generating some tech-related headlines this week for different reasons. Oakland's trying to improve life for residents, while San Francisco has jobs to fill.
San Francisco is looking to make eight new hires for its digital services team. The team is currently made up of 18, and it includes product managers, designers and developers. The new recruits are needed for a range of work, including roles within the Affordable Housing Services team, which is of particular import in a city and state suffering from a continuing housing crisis. The positions the team is seeking to fill are also varied, and they include a product manager, a full stack engineer, a Salesforce engineer and a designer, among others.
Other work for new hires includes the design and development of a new digital service for cannabis businesses, which have just become legal in California. The San Francisco Digital Services team notes that it is looking for ways to do permitting online while also tying into the city’s new physical permit center that is under development. A senior service designer is needed for that project.
Meanwhile, the city is also rebuilding its website from the ground up to include a service-led approach that makes it easier for users to quickly find what they need.
Interested technologists can find more information here.
Meanwhile, across the bay, Oakland has launched its first Civic Design Lab, which is an innovation department designed to help solve long-time bureaucratic bottlenecks and make local government easier to navigate and more accessible for residents as well as public employees.
The Civic Design Lab is a collaboration between Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, City Community Development and 100 Resilient Cities, according to a recent press release. The Civic Design Lab plans to use design strategies to find new solutions for some of the city’s oldest problems. This, officials note, is a new approach to government, one that seeks to maximize limited resources and to make Oakland’s communities more equitable.
While the announcement of the design lab was recent, work is already under way. In fact, the Civic Design Lab has redesigned the city’s Rent Adjustment Program, creating an online portal that is more user-friendly for tenants and property owners. They have also improved the Healthy Housing inspection process and streamlined partnerships between city programs and entrepreneurs related to equitable economic growth in Oakland.
“The Civic Design Lab can redesign our government to make it a more responsive city government for all Oaklanders,” Schaaf said in a press release. “If we want different outcomes in our city, we need a fresh set of eyes, a nimble team, and a compassionate heart to solve problems in creative new ways.”
The lab is now embedded in Oakland City Hall. Future undertakings include a revamped summer youth jobs program and a "financial justice" project.
A longer version of this article first appeared in Government Technology, Techwire's sister publication.