February 26, 2021
Contact: Yuridia Peña, [email protected], (718) 790-0837


Facebook Founder Chris Hughes, Non-Profit Leader Kathryn Wylde, Obama Senior White House Official Tara McGuiness, and NYU Urban Policy Professor and Scholar Neil Kleiman praised Donovan’s equity-focused platform for its potential to drive innovation and improve quality of life for all NYers.

Shaun Donovan’s plan aims to improve New York City’s ailing data infrastructure, provide all New Yorkers with high-speed internet, ensure that emerging technologies are more accessible, and create private-public partnerships to enhance equity and economic development.

NEW YORK, NY — Yesterday, Obama-Biden administration Housing Secretary and Budget Director Shaun Donovan continued his Campaign of Ideas with the rollout of his comprehensive Innovation Platform entitled ‘Leveraging Innovation and Data to Lead New York City into a More Successful, Equitable Future.’ The over 4,000-word platform lays out Shaun Donovan’s plan to improve NYC’s  innovation and data infrastructure, bring high-speed broadband to every single city residence, ensure equitable access to emerging technology, and use public-private partnerships as a tool for economic development.

New York has long been the center of innovation and a beacon of progress for the rest of the country and world. However, as other cities across the globe have prioritized innovation in the public and private sectors, it has become increasingly clear that our city is not reaching its full innovative potential and too many city residents do not reap the benefits of our city’s technological achievements,” said NYC Mayoral Candidate Shaun Donovan. “This was made painfully clear by the COVID-19 pandemic, which exposed huge equity gaps in our data infrastructure and showed that far too many of our city’s residents lacked the digital infrastructure to compete in an increasingly online world. Throughout my career in public service, I have leveraged technology in order to combat inequity and injustice. As Housing Commissioner, we retired the City’s antiquated housing code inspection system by using 311, and as Housing Secretary, we dramatically reduced veteran homelessness by using HUDStat.

As Mayor, I will use technology to make our city more accessible to all New Yorkers, be it at home, on the street, or in the classroom. A Donovan administration will use data- and evidence-based decision-making to more effectively and efficiently deliver for New Yorkers. Moreover, we will partner with innovative organizations across the private, non-profit, philanthropic, and academic sectors to pool our city’s resources and put them to work for the people of all five boroughs. By leveraging innovation across all government sectors, I am confident that we can rebuild and reimagine our city as one that works for everyone and reclaim the spirit of innovation that made New York City the capital of the world.”

Highlights of the platform include:

  • Leading with a comprehensive data, innovation, technology, and digital strategy that are rooted in the principles of equity. The strategy would also include clear metrics, measurable goals, and an accountability mechanism so that we can make sure our city’s agencies are meeting their set goals.
  • Ensuring that the talent NYC is attracting draws from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences through a Mayoral Innovation Fellowship program, adapted from the Presidential Innovation Fellowship model and the FUSE Corp model, which bring mid- to senior-level leaders from other sectors into the public sector.
  • Creating an internal innovation fund for City employees to spur innovation and new solutions. Agencies and employees will be able to submit proposals for new solutions and/or projects and be awarded access to pilot- and/or seed-funding on a routine basis. 
  • Updating the city’s antiquated procurement process by reviewing contracts and approval policies.
  • Bringing quality and high-speed broadband into every single residence in New York City. To ensure equity, a Donovan administration will focus first on poorly connected areas by collecting and analyzing neighborhood-level data to identify the lowest broadband connectivity and affordability.
  • Expanding NYC Secure, protecting New Yorkers and scaling trainings to students, neighborhood associations, and CBOs.
  • Expanding and elevating NYC Cyber Command (NYC3) and collaborating with non-governmental sectors and other government entities to make sure the most relevant up-to-date information is shared and leveraged. 
  • Launching an upgraded version of the Executive Blueprint Series — closed-door sessions bringing the mayor, deputy mayors, commissioner and senior aids together with the sharpest leaders in academia and the private sector to discuss multiple managerial and leadership challenges of implementing large-scale initiatives.
  • Ensuring that all New York City public school students are taught the skills necessary to succeed in a digital economy, and providing every single student the chance to gain hands-on work experience through at least one guaranteed paid career opportunity while in high school.

The extensive platform was lauded by experts from a broad range of fields:

Shaun’s focus on using technology to make city government more efficient and responsive is on target and can be accomplished, as he proposes, through effective public-private partnerships,” said Kathryn Wylde, CEO of the Partnership for New York City.

New York has long been a mecca of innovation, with many of the world’s leading companies, academic institutions, and nonprofit organizations establishing themselves here in a spirit of collaboration to solve pressing challenges. Shaun understands that this activity can power our city’s economy and help us achieve his ambitious goals for recovery,” said Chris Hughes, a co-founder of Facebook who now directs the Economic Security Project. “Shaun is determined to promote true partnership between the city’s government and the experts that are willing and excited to help tackle our most pressing issues. His Economic Development and Education platforms have made clear this is a campaign where big ideas are paired with the know-how to execute. I believe that powerful combination can make possible a New York where every resident lives a comfortable life in a quality neighborhood with their family.  

Shaun Donovan has experience working to make sure public institutions serve the public,” said Tara McGuinness, author of Power to the Public and former Obama senior White House official. “His policies released today demonstrate a commitment to test, refine, and scale new models of public problem solving and improve the delivery of services for all New Yorkers. And, by grounding these policies squarely in principles of equity, he has demonstrated an understanding of how previous attempts at innovation have left out vulnerable communities.” 

New York City has made great strides in finding creative ways to use data and technology to better meet the needs of its residents. Yet, there is still ample opportunity to more actively seek out and encourage innovation and to make the application of technology across agencies more efficient, transparent, and equitable,” said Neil Kleiman, New York University urban policy professor. “New York will only get there with a platform that actually puts innovation at the center of its strategy — Shaun Donovan’s policy proposals do exactly that. The proposals chart a plan to improve the quality of life of all New Yorkers and make the city work for everyone by looking for and refining truly innovative ideas.”

This plan follows a series of other ambitious, comprehensive policy proposals, achievable only through Donovan’s equity-driven approach that prioritizes gathering input from every relevant community, advocacy group, and business sector. Among these are his plans to create 500,000 jobs for New Yorkers by the end of his first term, open libraries 7 days per week in every neighborhood, make every neighborhood in the city a 15 Minute Neighborhood — where every resident has access to a great public school, fresh food, rapid transportation, a park, and a chance to get ahead within 15 minutes of their front door — and launch equity bonds, whereby every New York City child will receive $1,000, plus up to an additional $2,000 each subsequent year. Last week, Donovan released his Health plan aimed at ending the COVID crisis, making health care accessible and affordable for all New Yorkers, investing in health equity, and improving the overall health and wellbeing of our city. The plan also outlined a three-tiered New York City public option. 

For more details on Donovan’s Innovation Platform, please visit https://shaunfornyc.com/issues/innovation/

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