Episode 06: Civic Innovation & How it Improves our Lives: Pasadena as Case Study

Historically, innovation has been almost exclusively the realm of the private sector, but more recently there has been a movement to assess and strategically deploy innovation in the places we live.  Civic innovation includes new ideas, technologies or methodologies that improves upon existing processes and systems in order to improve the lives of citizens or the function of the society that they live within.  This broad concept includes but goes beyond the more narrow technology movement known as smart cities. It spans new modes of transportation or how existing modes might better work together, clever ways to capture real-time data across city infrastructure and enhance efficiency and citizen transparency, new approaches for managing zoning or even concepts as radical as what is a city and how does it function.  This presentation and conversation will introduce the concept of civic innovation and then explore a few specific examples of it at work in the City of Pasadena.


Andy Wilson is a serial entrepreneur having led, founded or invested in almost two dozen Southern California high tech start-ups. He has a long history of service with local not for profits including leadership roles at Pasadena Heritage, Pacific Oaks College, the Gamble House and STEAM Coders.  Andy is a co-founder and board member of Innovate Pasadena, which is dedicated to advancing the east side of Los Angeles as a vibrant innovation community. He is a frequent speaker on the role of innovation to create high paying local jobs with the goal of enhancing quality life in our community.

Andy has extensive volunteer experience with the City of Pasadena including service on the Planning Commission, Design Commission, Urban Forestry Advisory Commission and the Pasadena Center Operating Committee (the convention center & visitors bureau). Andy currently represents District 7 (District 7 includes Playhouse District, South Lake, Madison Heights, Oak Knoll, Caltech, Pasadena City College and  Langham Hotel neighborhood) on the Pasadena City Council.  He also serves on the both the Municipal Services Committee (the Pasdena Power & Water Company) and the Economic Development and Technology Committee of the City Council.

Andy is an advocate for thoughtful urban planning that protects neighborhoods and is committed to the Complete Streets and Active Transport concepts, making it easier for people to walk, bike, use transit and ride share. Since in office, Andy has been active in both the South Lake Business Association and the Playhouse District Association in an effort to attract more high quality tenants and promote the success of these District 7 Business Improvement Districts.  With an extensive background in finance, Andy is committed to fiscal responsibility while maintaining high quality services in key areas like public safety and recreation and parks.

Andy holds a degree in engineering with honors from Dartmouth College and an MBA from Harvard Business School.  He is a graduate of Leadership Pasadena and has completed advanced certificate programs at Columbia University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Northwestern Kellogg School of Business.  He and his wife Liz can often be seen walking with their school aged boys and rescue dog in Madison Heights, their home for 20 years.

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