City Leader Profile: Shireen Santosham

Chief Innovation Officer, City of San Jose

Shireen Santosham, Chief Innovation Officer, City of San Jose
“Bringing together diverse groups of stakeholders and helping them use tech and data to make better decisions — that’s been really satisfying.”

Shireen Santosham’s favorite part of being Chief Innovation Officer is “the ability to take a big, hairy problem, bring together diverse players, and help them solve it.” Those skills came in handy when the City of San Jose, as part of its Smart City Vision, asked What Works Cities (WWC) to help the City utilize new low-cost evaluation tools, kick-start its analytics department, and open data to its Silicon Valley community. Santosham and Erica Garaffo, a Data Analytics Lead, worked with WWC partners on increasing the effectiveness of daily operations and boosting departmental decision-making by integrating low-cost evaluations into planning new initiatives and improving existing practice. Additionally, they worked to improve government service delivery via data analytics and standardize processes to share data openly with residents and city staff. “Bringing together diverse groups of stakeholders and helping them use tech and data to make better decisions — that’s been really satisfying,” Santosham says.


The above profile is an excerpt from “What Works Cities: How Local Governments Are Changing Lives,” a new report showcasing accomplishments from cities participating in the What Works Cities initiative over the past two years. Read more profiles and city success stories here.