Posted on September 16, 2015 at 11:43 AM by Chris Castruita
Interview with Past MMASC President John Keisler,
Innovation Team Director for the City of Long Beach
Written by Ryan Park
What City do you work for, what’s your department, what’s your title, and how long have you been there?
City of Long Beach, City Manager’s Office and Innovation Team Director. I have been with the City for 10 years, but have been in my current role for the past 5 months.
How has it been getting settled into your role as the Innovation Team Director?
It is very exciting! This is a new initiative funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, which establishes a research and development unit for the City.
As the Director of the Innovation Team, how do you find new ways to solve old problems? How do you facilitate change with the community at large?
What we use is the innovation delivery approach. First, we investigate the problem by going out into the community and talking with the end user. Although investigations take time and require a lot of resources, it is necessary to understand the user’s experience. Next, we generate ideas by developing a sufficient model that address contributing issues. That said, generating ideas requires commitment from staff, support from the executive leadership, and collaboration from the community to truly find and meet the needs of your audience. Finally, we show our process by aligning the resources that lead to our results. This can be done through prototyping, finding outside funding sources, and understanding the value of the design. Overall, the City who really wants to innovate and adjust to the market really needs to take a look at the way the world is changing. Although it’s not what is traditionally done in government, I believe it is necessary.
Tag(s): networking, leadership, career, Annual Conference, advice
Posted on June 1, 2015 at 11:32 PM by Chris Castruita
What city do you work for, how long have you been there, and what’s your title?
I have been the City Manager for the City of Tracy since September of 2014. It has been approximately 8 months since I have been in this role.
How has it been getting settled into your role as City Manager?
It has been great! For me, the biggest difference is the change in my day-to-day work. Before, I used to manage a variety of projects. Now, I facilitate a lot of conversations and move things forward. I feel fortunate to have the years of experience in local government and believe I am well equipped to serve this community.
What initially got you interested in local government?
I started my career in Southern California as the Recreation Leader for the City of Santa Clarita. I was fortunate to be in a very progressive organization that really enabled me to build my own programs and develop my own services in the Recreation Department. I remember making an impact on 150 people through a family reunion event. It brought me such joy knowing that I was able to make an impact in the community.
Tag(s): networking, mentorship, leadership, community services, career, advice
Posted on February 25, 2015 at 11:29 PM by Chris Castruita