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30 April 2015

San Francisco invites tech companies to review public services

To make government more innovative, the City of San Francisco (USA) has started a programme that uses private sector ingenuity to improve public services. Started by the Office of the Mayor, the "Entrepreneurship in Residence" programme provides technology entrepreneurs with the chance to work closely with government officials, allowing them to identify inefficiencies and needs within government services and, crucially, envisage solutions.

With the public sector market worth around $142 billion, the entrepreneurship position is highly sought after by those in the tech industry. The programme is separated by field, including healthcare, education, transportation, public utilities, infrastructure and so on, with six entrepreneurial teams chosen. Last year teams from 200 start-up companies based in 25 cities from around the world applied.

So far the programme has led to some remarkable innovations, such as the mobile app “MobilePD FI”, which helps police officers to conduct more efficient field interviews. In the past, all information collected had to be entered into the police database by hand. Using the new app, interviews, photos and other notes recorded via a mobile device are automatically synced with the police database, saving a significant amount of time and effort. The company that has developed the innovation hopes to sell it to police stations across the United States.

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