Chief Innovation Officer

I am seeking an opportunity to lead a city’s innovation efforts with a focus on resident engagement.

If a mayoral election had resulted differently [2017], I would have been appointed Chief Innovation Officer for the City of Omaha, NE. The creation of a new office dedicated to innovation and performance management would have initiated and reviewed performance audits of city services, processes, regulations, technology and culture within city departments. This office would have launched open data initiatives, a public project reporting system, and resident engagement programs [starting by crafting partnerships between startups and City departments].

I was also in consideration for Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Oakland, CA [2018], a role focused on ensuring a forward-thinking and strategic approach to urban resilience service delivery & technology across the organization. Overall responsibilities included identifying government pain points, adapting and implementing new, creative, data-driven solutions to traditional problems, both technological and operational, to further drive organizational resilience while addressing 21st century challenges, such as sea level rise and a rapidly changing economy.

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In 2013, I began extensive study of civic leadership, urban development, and resident engagement after seeing Benjamin Barber’s TED Talk, Why Mayors Should Rule the World. My experience in branding and change initiatives had already formed my ability to guide work teams to resolve their most critical, future-oriented problems with a multidisciplinary approach.

I have demonstrated success in trend analysis, emerging market identification, and change initiatives with corporations, humanitarian organizations, NGOs, universities, and governments. I have contributed to projects with or spoken for United Nations, TED and TEDActive, IDEO, The Nature Conservancy, Broadway Across America, Substance Abuse Training Initiative, Association of Fundraising Professionals, Association of Information Technology Professionals, and many more. I’ve led 89-100% year-over-year multi-million dollar sales increases, mobilized people to save historic buildings from demolition, and launched three companies.

In a community role, I produced TEDx events for eight years. I built and developed a leadership team of nine people who produced 16 annual events in three program channels with 40 volunteers. We produced 10 live speaker events to meet TED’s standard of excellence. Additionally, I coached and mentored new TEDx licensees in my region and spoke at TEDActive 2014.

opm-300sqIn 2018, I started Omaha Public Meetings, a nonpartisan entity focused on public engagement, resident input, and government accountability at the municipal level. I organized meetings to discuss topics like urban development, affordable housing, and public data with the ultimate goal of encouraging the City to establish a formal resident engagement program.

The teams funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies have demonstrated that cities can perform better when residents have direct engagement in problem solving. I’ve been in communication with the Bloomberg staff and am ready to help city leadership advance through the partnerships available.

I welcome your interest in building a stronger, more engaged and advanced city together.

-Brian Smith

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Brian Smith is a progressive strategist who helps people develop novel approaches to their most difficult problems. Driven by a profound sense of adventure and creativity, Brian has contributed to projects for corporations, humanitarian organizations, NGOs, universities, and governments, including United Nations, TED and TEDActive, IDEO, The Nature Conservancy, Broadway Across America, Substance Abuse Training Initiative, Association of Fundraising Professionals, and Association of Information Technology Professionals.

Unorthodox and independent, Brian blends methodologies and approaches to guide people to define their own path forward through conversational techniques, alternative framework mapping, and thought experiments.

Brian has produced 10 TEDx events, trained over 100 speakers in the US, Canada, and Uganda, and served as a Trustee for the Business Ethics Alliance.