Civic Bridge Partner Spotlight: Accenture

Civic Bridge is a public-private partnership program that brings together City staff and corporate volunteer teams to tackle critical government challenges.

In this installment of our Partner Spotlight series, we spoke with volunteers from our longtime partner Accenture. From understanding the homelessness journey through the Medi-Cal system to designing a communications framework for SFO employees, Accenture has helped us catalyze civic impact since 2017 when their Fjord consultancy first joined our program.

Read on to learn why Ana Luisa, Matt, and Ian volunteered for Civic Bridge — and what they got out of it.

Follow Ana Luisa @ALAldanaSechell and Matt @MattPFarrell.

Interested in working with us? Contact us at innovation@sfgov.org to explore how your company might engage with Civic Bridge.

Ana Luisa Aldana and Matthew Farrell, Accenture

CIVIC BRIDGE SPONSORS: ANA LUISA ALDANA and MATTHEW FARRELL

We’re seeing more and more private-sector companies leaning into the social impact space. As executive sponsors who continue to sign up Accenture for the Civic Bridge program, why do you think it’s important for companies to provide and promote opportunities for their employees to give back to their community?

Ana Luisa

Since the pandemic, it’s come to the forefront that we’re all members of the community. And together, we can approach and overcome any critical challenges facing our community. This means that we have to be committed to apply our skills and tools in order to solve communal challenges.

Matt

Absolutely. These opportunities to apply their professional skills to support the community are what our people want. They look for opportunities to give back, and we want to harness that energy and make it easier for them to volunteer. Corporate stewardship has been one of our core values for as long as I’ve been at Accenture — for 17 years — and is the foundational focus the company is built on.

We don’t want volunteerism to be something new hires hear about at the company orientation and leave it at that. We want to provide our team an avenue to get actively engaged, and have the process be accessible and easy. And I think that we’ve gotten a lot better at that over the last couple of years.

Ana Luisa

Building on that, volunteerism comes naturally for our consultants. Given the type of professional services work that we do for our clients, Accenture attracts people who want to serve and contribute — someone who wants to do better and improve the communities in which they live and work in.

Accenture has been a Civic Bridge partner since 2017! And this is the second time you have both personally endorsed and supported a Civic Bridge project. On both an organizational as well as personal level: what continues to motivate you to participate in the Civic Bridge program?

Ana Luisa

On an organizational level, we wanted to lean in and participate in this great model. Civic Bridge is a wonderful idea that was started by Mayor Ed Lee, who recognized the talent inherent in this area of the country. And this program is easily accessible for our people and provides them with an opportunity to use their skill sets to enhance and assist the City’s innovation resources.

Matt

We also recognize that our people want to volunteer on a local level and have day-to-day impact in their communities. When it comes to Civic Bridge, I’ve honestly been really impressed — both by the number of people who want to participate in this program and by their commitment throughout the course of the collaboration.

For me personally, I get excited and feel fulfilled by the many projects we get to work on through Civic Bridge. Ana Luisa works in the public space more regularly than I do, so I learn a bunch of new things on these projects.

I partnered with SFO [San Francisco International Airport] in a past Civic Bridge collaboration and now, with SFPD — and it makes me feel so much more connected to what’s going on in the City. Since my experience working with both departments, I started following them on Twitter. When I see their posts or learn about what they’re working on, I get excited in a way I wasn’t before I engaged with these City Departments. So I feel like I understand more about the City’s initiatives and programs. I feel closer to it.

I’m also lucky to have been at Accenture for a long time and have had a broad set of experiences. But a lot of our Accenture team members that are part of the Civic Bridge team haven’t necessarily had a chance to get that same range of experiences. And when working in a big company, the immediate impact from your day-to-day activities may not be as clear. This program allows them to not only volunteer, but also work on something completely different from their normal activities — like interviewing the San Francisco police chief. And that’s a really cool thing for our people to experience.

Ian Walker, Accenture

PROJECT LEAD — IAN WALKER

The project with San Francisco International Airport was your first Civic Bridge project. What inspired you to volunteer to lead this collaborative work?

Working with SFO was a big draw for me to join the volunteer team. I’m a lifelong fan of flying. Having spent a lot of time at SFO as a passenger, I wanted to peek behind the curtain and see how the airport was run. Airports are these huge systems, and I wanted to know how something that big and at that scale, coordinated all the many things that have to happen.

What was the goal(s) for this project? What is the intended impact of your Civic Bridge collaboration?

The direct goal was to improve communication with frontline workers. SFO had important information and resources to share with various people working at the airport, almost all of whom work for other companies from food vendors to baggage transportation. And the City employees wanted to increase their ability to communicate with workers which was especially urgent given the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to share a lot of information, fast. Additionally, a lot of the traditional communication fixes that you could do when you’re in the same room no longer applied in the pandemic state.

So the project was really about defining and re-designing communication strategy with frontline workers so they have increased access to SFO’s work-life navigation services — like childcare, financial literacy, BART discounts — and feel connected to the airport during and after the pandemic.

The Accenture volunteer team worked with our SFO partners to develop a communications framework which included fundamental principles like the hub and spoke approach, incentives to get people to opt into communication channels, and being more proactive and targeted in how SFO reaches out to workers.

For next steps, SFO will validate and socialize findings, and also develop mechanisms and tools to operationalize Accenture’s recommendations. For example, they are looking to implement a more formalized texting mechanism. SFO also developed a smartphone app called Copilot that will expand to include features that align with the outlined communication principles.

How would you sum up your Civic Bridge experience in one word? Why?

Illuminating! I really got to understand some of the intricacies of a large airport environment. Several members of our team visited the airport to meet front-line workers face-to-face, and it was fascinating to see their insights into day-to-day operations.

I especially enjoyed seeing the human element and watching an “information champion” taking the initiative to spread the word about our survey. This brought home to me the incredible impact that a few people can have.

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San Francisco Office of Civic Innovation

San Francisco Office of Civic Innovation

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