Fellowship Openings

Advancing Data Driven Decision Making in City Government

Project: Advancing Data Driven Decision Making in City Government

Agency: City Manager's Office

Location: San Jose, CA


San Jose aspires to be America’s most innovative city by 2020, and has accordingly pursued technology-driven initiatives as laid out in its “Smart City Vision.” City leadership is committed to this pursuit and has allocated the necessary staff time and resources. As a result, the newly created Office of Civic Innovation and Digital Strategy has engaged in a number of projects, all at various stages of completion, including broadband investment, bridging the digital divide, creating a Digital Services strategy, and making the city more user-friendly for residents by building new mobile and web apps to allow for seamless interaction with City Hall. Data serves as the building block underlying all of these projects and San Jose is now at an inflection point. While some departments have integrated good data practices into their regular functions, there is work to be done still before the city has fully embraced an open data orientation.

Sustained innovation and progress will come, not from a few innovative actors dispersed across departments, but rather a comprehensive data strategy that guides metrics and performance across the entire organization. City officials recognize the need to develop this strategy for citywide data collection, usage and storage and transform how the city approaches such issues as overall performance measurement at the city-wide level, data architecture and data infrastructure, privacy and security, and even data analytics at the departmental- level. Implementation of this strategy should facilitate making data available across the organization and empower city staff to make data-driven decisions.

To support this work, San Jose will partner with FUSE Corps to host an executive-level fellow for one year who will work with the City to develop a comprehensive strategy for use of data at scale to transform city service delivery.


The following provides a general overview of the proposed fellowship project. This project summary and the potential deliverables that follow will be collaboratively revisited by the host agency, the fellow, and FUSE staff during the first few months of the fellowship, after which a revised scope of work will be developed and agreed upon by the FUSE Fellow and the host agency.

Starting in April 2019, it is proposed the FUSE Fellow will begin his or her work by assessing the status of current data initiatives, and liaising with city departments to understand their data needs. Working closely with internal stakeholders, and with some access to consultants and outside vendors, the Fellow will lead the development of a comprehensive data strategy for the city. It is critical that the Fellow be able to identify and promote current “data stories” or instances of successful interactions between the public and open data sources, to build momentum for the project and maintain support of city leadership.

The Fellow is expected to have the necessary technical skills get into the weeds of the data infrastructure being developed, and help demonstrate its potential applications and uses. By leveraging deep technical expertise gained in the private sector, the Fellow will provide leadership in determining long-term strategy, and gaining buy-in from city stakeholders including the budget department and city council. By communicating how data can transform city service delivery, the Fellow must motivate and encourage city leadership and staff to adopt new ways of thinking.

  • Assess current data infrastructure & resources: Complete a comprehensive analysis of current systems. Engage with cross-departmental stakeholders to understand needs and any past obstacles to adopting a more data-driven approach. Work with city officials to determine where to focus efforts and resources and ways in which internal capacity for data analytics can be strengthened. Help boost and facilitate work of identified “data champions.”
  • Develop a Data Roadmap or Strategy for Implementation: Identify processes to improve data collection, usage and storage. Recommend new processes or infrastructure where necessary.  Develop cost estimates and link recommendations to budgeting cycles, to ground strategy in existing city planning processes.
  • Implement improvements identified in strategy: Identify and pursue easy to implement “wins,” in order to demonstrate value of project and engage city leadership. Select initial projects with an eye towards facilitating culture change around data and technology.
  • Communicate “Data Stories”: Work with stakeholders to understand how the city and public are already interacting using data, and communicate these stories externally. Leverage stories to build additional support for project.


  • Kip Harkness, Deputy City Manager, San Jose City Manager’s Office
  • Dolan Beckel, Director, Civic Innovation and Digital Strategy San Jose City Manager’s Office
  • Shireen Santosham, Chief Information Officer, San Jose Mayor’s Office.
  • Erica Garaffo, Process Transformation Lead, Civic Innovation and Digital Strategy, San Jose City Manager’s Office


  • At least 15 years of professional experience in a relevant field, with strong technical proficiency and knowledge of data integration and visualizations, ETL tools, APIs, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and an understanding of a wide variety of relational databases and legacy systems.
  • Superior critical thinking and analytical skills.
  • Ability to synthesize complex information into clear and concise recommendations.
  • Ability to relate to a wide variety of diverse audiences with strong emotional intelligence and empathy.
  • Excellent stakeholder engagement skills and the ability to use facilitative leadership techniques to coordinate stakeholder activities.
  • Self-motivated, goal-oriented, entrepreneurial leader who can also be an independent worker.
  • Persistent in obtaining information and creatively resourceful in identifying solutions to complex problems.
  • Ability to create direction and movement within potentially ambiguous environments.
  • Exceptional written and verbal communication skills with an ease in public presentations.
  • Understands the need for solutions to support all people in a community regardless of race, religion, gender, immigration status, or ethnicity.


Click the link below to upload a resume and complete the online application questions in lieu of a cover letter. The application process will allow you to indicate interest in more than one fellowship opportunity. You only need to submit one application. Interested candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible, as selections will be made on a rolling basis and specific opportunities may close quickly.

A FUSE Fellowship is a 12-month engagement requiring fellows be primarily committed to their partnership with the government agency throughout the year to ensure the success of their project. Fellows are retained as independent contractors of FUSE Corps and are paid an annual stipend of $90,000 through monthly installments. This commitment begins on April 29, 2019 and ends April 27, 2020.

The FUSE Fellowship is an equal opportunity program with a core value of incorporating diverse perspectives. We strongly encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply.