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Mayor Jenny Durkan’s Innovation Advisory Council Launches New Website, Announces Seven Priority Projects to Help Seattle Address Affordability, Homelessness, Youth Opportunity, Delivery of Basic Services, and Emergency Preparedness

IAC Members Partnering with City of Seattle Departments to Use Technology to Address Some of Seattle’s Biggest Challenges

SEATTLE (April 9, 2019) – Mayor Jenny A. Durkan’s Innovation Advisory Council today launched a new website, a new resource for the public to stay updated on the IAC’s work and continued progress. The IAC members also announced today they have identified seven priority projects to help the City of Seattle address critical challenges including affordability, homelessness, youth opportunity, the delivery of basic services, and emergency preparedness.

“We are fortunate have the most innovative and forward-looking companies and workers anywhere in the world right here in our backyard working with us on these projects. Working together, we are making progress,” said Mayor Durkan. “We must continue to come together towards innovative solutions within our own government to address our region’s biggest challenges, including homelessness and affordability. I am grateful to the Innovation Advisory Council members for their continued partnership and commitment to making Seattle a better, more just place to live and work.”

The Innovation Advisory Council has identified seven initial projects that will serve as “Phase I” projects.

  • Earthquake Early Warning System
  • Earthquake Damage Assessment Tool
  • Homelessness Data Modeling
  • NavApp 2.0
  • Affordability Portal
  • Youth Opportunity Portal
  • Affordable Housing Search Tool

For additional background on each Phase I project, please click here. These projects have been reviewed by an internal review board to ensure that they uphold City values of equity, privacy, and open data.

Established by Mayor Durkan via executive order in August 2018, the Innovation Advisory Council acts as an advisor on issues and policies affecting the City, where data and technology solutions could be of benefit. Specifically, the IAC focuses on issue identification, policy recommendations, and project implementation of technology solutions including new data analytics, dashboards, applications, and software for the City. Members and their businesses have committed to helping deliver these technology solutions.

Following the Mayor’s creation of the IAC, the Mayor’s Office worked closely with department directors to identify opportunities to partner with IAC members. Each project had to identify a City of Seattle project manager and submit a timeline to be considered. In October 2019, nearly 60 people from City of Seattle departments including the Office of Housing, Human Services Department, the Office of Emergency Management, and more met with the IAC for a half day at Tableau to match projects. With facilitation from Artefact, IAC members and City departments created project teams based on the scope of each project and the skills of IAC members.

“The opportunity for the City of Seattle to collaborate with such forward thinking organizations is both exciting and humbling. This is more than just simply designing or building a piece of technology, but rather this partnership is about using creative ways to leverage technology to help tackle the tough issues our region is facing” said Saad Bashir, Chief Technology Officer for Seattle.

“As co-chairs of the Mayor’s Innovation Advisory Council, we are grateful to all of the IAC members as well as City of Seattle experts who have put so much of their time and energy into collaborating on innovative solutions that will help make our City a better place,” said IAC Co-Chairs Aman Bhutani, Andrew Beers, Trish Millines-Dziko, and John Rousseau. “We are excited by the opportunity to help shape the purpose and role of the IAC, and look forward to exploring a range of new ways for the IAC and the City of Seattle to deepen its partnership and impact in the long-term.”

The new resource,, provides background information about the IAC and the first seven projects – including scopes of work, timelines, project teams, and development updates.

The IAC is also helping to foster innovation within the City of Seattle by committing to a series of monthly “Knowledge Exchanges.” These are opportunities for City of Seattle employees to learn from some of our region’s most innovative companies about emerging technologies and new developments in the innovation world. The first Knowledge Exchange was held on April 1.

The Innovation Advisory Council is comprised of individuals from 17 local companies and community groups including Amazon, Artefact Group, Expedia Group, Facebook, Flying Fish, Microsoft, Tableau, Technology Access Foundation, Washington Technology Industry Association, and Zillow Group, as well as City Council President Bruce Harrell and new Seattle IT CTO Saad Bashir.

The full list of Innovation Advisory Council Members is below:

  • Co-Chair Aman Bhutani, Expedia
  • Co-Chair Andrew Beers, Tableau
  • Co-Chair Trish Millines Dziko, Technology Access Foundation
  • Co-Chair John Rousseau, Artefact
  • Tim Halladay, Amazon
  • Jared Axelrod, Amazon
  • Jennifer Thibodeau, Amazon
  • Jessie Metcalf, Amazon
  • Clark Menkes, Amazon
  • Amy Wales, Artefact
  • Richard de Sam Lazaro, Expedia
  • Colleen Fukui-Sketchley, F5
  • Nathan Misner, F5
  • Steven Uy, Facebook
  • Heather Redman, Flying Fish
  • Yifan Zhang, Loftium
  • Laura Baga, Microsoft
  • Deanna Sparks, Microsoft
  • Irene Plenefish, Microsoft
  • Tom Rubin, Stanford Law School
  • Steve Schwartz, Tableau
  • Brian Kahrs, Twitter
  • Anind Dey, University of Washington
  • Sally Clary, University of Washington
  • Maggie Foote, University of Washington
  • Michael Schutzler, Washington Technology Industry Association
  • Graham Pruss, WeCount
  • Jonathan Sposato, WeCount
  • Rebekah Bastian, Zillow