How Government Should Embrace Startups and Innovation to Revamp…Everything

The future of government isn’t just created, it’s co-created

Technology is disrupting everything it touches, from arts to government. But with disruption comes an opportunity to innovate. And of all the places where innovation is overdue, government takes the top spot.

This episode of Revolution features Jay Nath, who serves as chief innovation officer for the City of San Francisco. Nath works with Mayor Ed Lee to embrace the city’s vast pool of technology startups and entrepreneurs in order to drive more innovation within the government.

Nath is currently working with a “civic accelerator,” an independent initiative of Code For America designed to house, mentor and fund startups focused on using technology to improve government efficiency.

“I think it’s really important that the government reflect our citizens and the ethos and values that they have,” he says. “In our culture, it’s about agility, it’s about leanness — it’s really about [being] scrappy. And we expect government to be the same way.”

Subscribe to Revolution on Youtube or iTunes and connect with me: Twitter | LinkedIn | Facebook | Google+

The End of Business as Usual is officially here…

  • Jac Xu

    It is crucial whether the future president has an innovative mind to support startups as well.

    • briansolis

      You think that would be on the agenda besides using new technology to get contributions and votes.

  • Pingback: How Government Should Embrace Startups and Innovation to Revamp…Everything – Brian Solis | fabriziofaraco

  • Vikas Singal

    Yes Its quite fine that Government should embrace start ups but Its not that easy for government to take a decision on start up..where I find almost 20% start up crushing in initial 1-2 years…

    • briansolis


  • Pingback: IT Gov News – News For The IT Professional » Blog Archive » How Government Should Embrace Startups and Innovation to Revamp…Everything » IT Gov News - News For The IT Professional

  • Anonymous

    Right on. We did some early versions of this when I was at the MA Governor’s office. We started opening up public transportation data and encouraging private developers to build visuals/apps for people to know where the trains and buses were. As expected, we encountered some folks who were nervous about making this data available (what if people charge for it? what if they sell ads next to it? what if people alter it?) and who felt that government should continue to “control it” and build the websites and apps. I usually replied with the fact that government has been getting information (i.e. data) to people for hundreds of years through the filter of the press and that we don’t tell them that they can’t charge for the paper or run ads during their news broadcast. So, how is this any different? Plus, if government were to procure smartphone apps, it would be a nightmare. They’d launch two years too late and three times over budget. :)

    The City of Boston does some great work with this as well. Nice to see San Fran continuing to embrace this as they were one of the earliest and we often used them for guidance and support as we were undertaking similar efforts. Great interview Brian.

    • briansolis

      Thanks Brad. What’s interesting is that there are parts of the SF Gov that are run like a startup. Some of this stuff has implemented quickly. I’m meeting with the Mayor soon so I hope to learn more.

  • Saori Kamitani

    I am from Japan, and I feel we need someone like Jay Nath in Japan. Government is usually conservative and hard to adapt to new technology and standard. Japan is a typical example. Although a government manages the country or the city, it is also an organization in the city. It needs to communicate with its people and to adopt ideas from citizens. The government’s attitude for PR and communication is not serious even though communication is the key to unify the community. City+innovative people+government create a better tied community. Japanese government dissolved few weeks ago, and a new prime minister will come in December. I hope the new PM understand what era we are living, and he take actions to reshape Japan!


Brian Solis is a digital analyst, anthropologist, and also a futurist. In his work at Altimeter Group, Solis studies the effects of disruptive technology on business and society. More so, he humanizes technology’s causal effect to help people see people differently and understand what to do about it. He is an award-winning author and avid keynote speaker who is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders in digital transformation and innovation.

Brian has authored several best-selling books including What’s the Future of Business (WTF), Engage! and The End of Business as Usual. His blog,, is ranked as a leading resource for insights into the future of business, new technology and marketing.

Contact Brian



  • Relevance by Brian Solis
  • Düsseldorf to SFO - skimming the clouds
  • Brian Solis, Future of Business Forum, Oslo
  • Brian Solis, Future of Business Forum, Oslo