News

CityAge: San Diego talks business, big data and staying competitive in the global economy

CityAge: San Diego talks business, big data and staying competitive in the global economy

CityAge is a multi-national campaign of events dedicated to the partnerships and investments that are building the world’s urban future. More than 5,000 leaders in business, government, research and design have attended a CityAge event and are now part of the CityAge network. On April 25-26, nearly 200 leaders from across the nation joined the movement by attending CityAge: San Diego.

Building on over 30 prior editions across the United States, Canada, London and Hong Kong, CityAge: San Diego explored how the business of city-building is essential to competing in our global economy. How should regions position their brands to compete in a global market? What are the partnerships necessary to build an inclusive innovation economy? How must we address the affordability challenge? These questions and more were discussed over the two-day event at the Central San Diego Library in downtown.

San Diego Workforce Partnership (SDWP) CEO Peter Callstrom was invited to join a panel discussion, Data Cities: The New Imperative, alongside:

  • Nick Macchione, Director & Deputy Chief Administrative Officer, Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA), County of San Diego
  • Elizabeth Fretwell, City Manager, City of Las Vegas, NV
  • Bill York, Executive Vice President, 2-1-1 San Diego
  • Panel Chair: Rick Cole, City Manager, City of Santa Monica, CA

The challenges of urban operations and increasing citizen demand for more efficient and responsive service delivery require new models of partnership. At the same time, the rise of big data and new technologies provide new tools. The panel discussed this intersection and how the use of big data can increase efficiency, transparency and engagement.

"Data has revolutionized the private sector and, perhaps belatedly, is revolutionizing the public sector," said Cole during opening remarks.

Macchione, who serves on SDWP’s Workforce Development Board, praised San Diego County residents, 98% of whom have agreed to share medical data among providers for quicker and more accurate treatment, for trusting systems with their information. Leveraging this data sharing has propelled San Diego to become a leader in trauma care, with one of the lowest trauma-related fatality rates in the country. Macchione says data like this is the key to achieving HHSA’s ultimate goal — “Prevent the preventable, so we can deal with the inevitable,” he said.

Callstrom spoke to SDWP’s position as a leader in data in the workforce system. “Our job is to understand where the jobs are and how to get them,” he shared. “That's the data that drives what we do.” But even with a nationally-recognized database system, there’s always room for improvement. “We’re still working to get to the point where we can easily report out the effectiveness of our work to our boards and communities…and we’re ahead of the curve,” he said. His comments highlighted the sentiment of the room – data is invaluable, but it does take resources. Suggestions from the panel on stretching those resources and putting data to work included investing in in-house developers and organizing community hackathons.