Building Better Basics: City of San José

Jordan Sun, Chief Innovation Officer, City of San José joined Grayson Brulte on The Road To Autonomy Podcast to discuss building better basics in the City of San José through innovation and technology.

The conversation begins with Jordan discussing his time serving two tours of duty (2012 and 2020) in Afghanistan with the U.S. Army. Comparing and contrasting his experiences, Jordan talks about his time and what he learned during each tour of duty. During his 2020 tour of duty, Jordan and his team built and shipped a software product from the battlefield.

Continuing to serve his country, Jordan serves as a Tech Scout for the U.S. Army where he develops and builds relationships with innovative companies in Silicon Valley.

I am interested in all things tech-related.

– Jordan Sun

During his stint at the U.S. State Department, Jordan continued to study international relations. Putting all of his skills to work from his time in the military, finance, and diplomacy, Jordan joined the City of San José in 2020 as Chief Innovation Officer to make a difference.

What attracted me initially was, the pandemic hit, I spent most of my service overseas when I served. I really didn’t feel like I did enough for the community. Sometimes I would scratch my head and was like well what could I actually do tangibly to change someone’s life in terms of here in America.

– Jordan Sun

After his first meeting with the Mayor and being unable to sleep that night, Jordan knew that he had to step up and make a difference for the community of San José.

If not me then who, and if it is me, I need to put skin in the game and give it a try.

– Jordan Sun

In November 2020, The Center for Digital Government announced that the City of San José was named the nation’s most innovative local Government. Being extremely humble, Jordan talks about how it was a team effort to the recognition and how it’s merely just a starting point to where the City wants to go in the future.

Looking to the future, Grayson asks Jordan how the City is working to bridge the digital divide. In the latest budget, the Mayor directed $10 million dollars to improve broadband connectivity for residents of San José.

With a City of over 1 million residents, Grayson asks Jordan how he is approaching innovation.

It’s about getting to more tangible outcomes.

– Jordan Sun

Jordan looks at every digital service/website that the City builds as a product and how the residents of San José will interact with it and use the product. This philosophy ties directly into Jordan’s Three Pillars of a Smart City: Data, Digital Product/Engagement, IoT Network which he discusses in depth.

Shifting the conversation to mobility, Grayson asks Jordan what role mobility will play in his vision of a City of the Future. Mobility is just not the movement of passengers, it is the moment of goods. Mobility will also have a positive impact on health care as society shifts to autonomous vehicles.

With 50 companies currently testing in California, Grayson asks Jordan about the City’s relationship with the autonomous vehicle industry.

There is a very healthy relationship.

– Jordan Sun

Looking to the current trend of privacy, Grayson asks Jordan what the City is doing to ensure the privacy of its residents as they embrace and deploy new technologies.

We have a foundational privacy policy that protects our residents that lays the groundwork and lays the commitment by the City for us to understand privacy as it pertains to not just surveillance, but overall.

– Jordan Sun

Wrapping up the conversation, Jordan discusses the big issues that the City is going to tackle as the world emerges from the global pandemic.

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Recorded on Friday, May 21, 2021.