United States


Libby Schaaf


425,195 (2017)

Innovation Website
Lead Innovation Officer

Daniel Hamilton

Innovation is helping to:
  • Improve service delivery

  • Improve resident outcomes

  • Anticipate and manage future challenges

Critical success factors:
  • Dedicated funding

  • Focus on measurement

  • Dedicated innovation team

  • Culture of innovation in city

Spotlight on innovation in Oakland

Note: The City Innovation Snapshot (PDF version) was produced in 2019 and some aggregate findings have been updated with the latest survey results below.

Vision and approach to innovation capacity

Along with 50% of cities surveyed, Oakland does not have an explicit innovation strategy. Similar to 24% of cities surveyed, Oakland approaches innovation capacity in specific policy areas/domains.

Policy areas that Oakland is focused on

Environment and climate change
Policy areas by number of cities

Innovation skills or roles

Oakland does not have a dedicated team for innovation. Innovation work is largely being driven via the City's Resilience Strategy, focusing on housing, open data access and open governance, and preparation/adaptation for disasters such as wildfire, earthquake, and climate change.

Innovation roles by number of cities

Terms Oakland most associates with innovation

Technological innovation
Human-centered design

Oakland's most common innovation activities

Developing new solutions based on digital technologies
e.g. use of drones or smart sensors
  1. 1

    Taking risks or testing new ideas

  2. 2

    Data-driven analytics/public data management

  3. 3

    Engaging residents in new ways

  4. 4

    Developing new solutions based on digital technologies

  5. 5

    Organizational change within the municipality

  6. 6

    Human-centered design

  7. 7

    Rethinking your city’s approach to financing partnerships

Its innovation activities also include taking risks and testing new ideas; promoting data-driven analytics; and rethinking the city’s approach to financing and partnerships.

How is innovation funded here?

Like 81% of cities surveyed, Oakland has dedicated funding to support innovation capacity.

Top sources of funding

Municipal budget
Municipal budget
This could include, for instance, City Council approved funds; operating budget; a special funding process (bond, Mayoral special initiative funding, etc.); and participatory budgeting / citizen-selected budgeting.
External funding
External funding
This could include private, philanthropic/non-profit and/or academic/think tank resources.

Activities being funded

Idea generation & brainstorming
47 cities
Launching or sustaining a project
79 cities
Idea generation & brainstorming
51 cities
Investing in digital systems
36 cities
Investing in physical infrastructure
30 cities
Paying for services

Oakland also invests in digital systems as well as paying for services to a third party.

How is innovation measured?

Oakland has developed partnerships to promote its innovation capacity with other public agencies, private firms, not-for-profit organizations, and city residents/resident associations.

To improve data use, the city has also developed data partnerships with academia, think tanks, and philanthropy to collect and analyze data, as well as with other cities.

Data availability by policy area


Sufficient data


Housing and built environment

Policing and law enforcement

Environment and climate change

Social inclusion and equity

Digital governance

Insufficient data

Waste and sewage

No Response

Economic Development



Labour market and skills



Public works