San Francisco innovation chief Krista Canellakis steps down

After seven years of projects, often involving connecting government with private-sector expertise, the city's chief innovation officer is moving on.
(Jose Rago / Unsplash)

San Francisco’s Chief Innovation Officer, Krista Canellakis, has left her role in city government — for now — after nearly seven years of championing civic innovation.

Canellakis announced her departure in a tweet last Friday, leaving open the possibility of a return to public service in the future. During her tenure in the Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation, or MOCI, Canellakis told StateScoop that providing city staff with the tools to “carry change forward” was one of her most important priorities. To that end, Canellakis helped build MOCI’s Startup in Residence program that connects startups with city government agencies. She also helped create San Francisco’s Civic Bridge program, which connects volunteers with government to bring outside expertise into city projects. 

Krista Canellakis

Krista Canellakis (Krista Canellakis / Flickr)

“We have spawned a model that accelerates cities’ ability to access new technologies, and as a self-professed procurement nerd, this makes me very proud,” Canellakis said last year after the STIR program expanded internationally. 


Canellakis began her career in public service in 2013 as an innovation fellow inside MOCI, an office that generates new technologies and strategies for city programs. She served as the city’s innovation officer and deputy innovation officer before taking the role of chief innovation officer in February 2018.

She oversaw design of new digital services like legal referrals for residents and new online permitting process for the city’s Office of Cannabis. 

Canellakis told StateScoop last year that she takes pride in her non-traditional path into city government, specifically in breaking down barriers between the public and private sectors so that the two can approach challenges in new ways.

She was named one of StateScoop’s Top 50 Women in Tech in 2018, and her office recently won an Engaged Cities award from Bloomberg Philanthropies for the progress that Civic Bridge has made in solving urban challenges.

The city has not yet named Canellakis’ replacement.

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