This website is for City employees.     |     COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) for Staff Resources

Together San Rafael Meeting Guide for 5-23

Posted on May 23, 2017

Meeting Guide


Advisory Committee members: Laraine Gittens, Lindsay Lara, Lauren Crandell, DJ Heckler, Pat Nolan, Raffi Boloyan, Ashley Howe, Steve Mason, Lidia Que, Anthoney Heaven, Andrea Gilles, Jason Hatfield, Paul Bowermaster, Cameron Mrsny, Garrett Northern, Kyle Reuter, Trina Vadon, Anthony Alviso, Sylvia Gonzales, Vinh Pham, Mireya Renteria, William Calhoun, Joan Peck, Crystal Marker, Blake Delzel, David Casalnuovo, Alex Holm, Alan Piombo, Todd Berringer, Dylan Frisbee, Josh Minshall, Talia Smith

Meeting Objectives

  • Better understand the Together San Rafael initiative
  • Clarification on roles and responsibilities of the Advisory Committee
  • Input from Advisory Committee on:
    • Guiding principles
    • Internal communication tool
    • City Services Innovation project curriculum
    • Proposed timeline and next steps


1. Welcome / meeting objectives: what we’re trying to accomplish (Jim) 8:30
2. The Why: the context and our message (Jim & Cristine) 8:40
3. The How / What

  • Engagement survey (Sylvia)
  • Internal communications (Vinh & Alex)
BREAK 9:30
4. The How / What… continued

  • Guiding principles (Andrew & Lindsay)
  • City Services Innovation project (Judi, CivicMakers)
5. Next Steps 11:10

Meeting Materials

Why are we doing this?

  • 76% of San Rafael residents are satisfied with City services; down from 84% in 2015 (Godbe, 2017)
  • 71% of city workers in U.S. are unhappy or disengaged with their jobs (Gallup, 2016)
  • 85% of the public expect the same of higher quality from government digital services as they do from commercial organizations; and 4 in 10 are not satisfied with them (Accenture, 2016)

The elevator pitch: Together with our Departments, Together with our Organization, Together with our Community…  modernizing city services and making San Rafael a great place to work

  • Bringing staff and management together figure things out  cross-departmentally, rather than through a top down approach
  • Empowering all City employees, regardless of position or tenure, to share and implement their innovative ideas
  • Celebrating the innovation happening every day in our departments

What is the City Service Innovation project?

Together, we’re going to learn how to:

  • Redesign / modernize our processes & services
  • Interview our users and incorporate their feedback
  • Prototype and test new ideas
  • Work cross-departmentally on shared problems

When are we doing this?

Task Spring Summer Fall Winter 2018
Create Advisory Committee >>
Develop guiding principles >>
Conduct employee engagement survey >>
Roll-out Pilot City Services Innovation project >> >>
Implement solutions >> >>
Roll-out more Innovation projects >> >> >>
Implement more solutions

Draft Guiding Principles: an evolution

Iteration 1: The Original


  • Innovate & design process with customer in mind
  • Find what we can stop doing, so we can…break out of routine; create time to find new/better ways
  • Make sure your opinion is heard and counts
  • Get the right tools & equipment to do our work
  • Create opportunities for growth and learning
  • Establish “failure” as an expected part of the process and recognize employees for trying new things
  • A mistake or failure is often the step before success – use your talents and get more personal satisfaction from doing your best work
  • Take calculated risks and learn from them


  • Work together with your colleagues in other departments to help solve the biggest challenges we face as a City
  • Figure out how your department can make another department more successful
  • Remember that the public generally does not see us as silos, so design how we deliver services keeping in mind that the public sees us as one organization, not 12 departments
  • Focus on the what, but even more on the how and why – continuously assess whether what we’re doing day to day still makes sense and empower ourselves to make changes to the work to save time and improve quality of our services
  • Create a great City/great place to work culture


  • Build trust with the community – understand the new set of expectations for how the public wants to receive information and services from government
  • Each encounter with a resident reflects on all of us – each encounter is an opportunity to rebuild trust
  • Each time we are required to say ‘no’ to a specific request from the public is an opportunity to find something to say ‘yes’ to
  • Meet people where they are – find ways to engage that don’t require coming to a public meeting at inconvenient times
  • Design projects/processes/interactions to create a great customer experience


Iteration  2: The Top 10

Together with our Departments, Together with our Organization, Together with our Community, we…

  1. Start with community needs. Embody the spirit of community service and work with the community to solve problems.
  2. Work Together. Do things together and work beyond silos. Appreciate each other, share responsibility and imagine the possibilities together.
  3. Say Yes! Be optimistic and look for ways to help people achieve success.
  4. Work Open. Be open to change. Share and make things open; it makes things better.
  5. Contagious Leadership. Make your time at work count. All your talents are essential to the bigger success of the team.
  6. Take Risks. Try new things, continuously learn and always work to improve the world around you.
  7. Honesty & Transparency. Be honest about what you can and can’t do. Communicate well and often.
  8. Question the Status Quo. Ask why we do something the way we do and seek ways to improve.
  9. Be Aware. Understand context and root problems.
  10. Resource stewardship. Be mindful and fiscally responsible with our resources.


Iteration 3: Super Succinct

Teamwork, Service, Reimagining

  • Teamwork: cooperative or coordinated effort on the part of a group of persons acting together as a team or in the interests of a common cause
  • Service: the action of helping or doing work for someone
  • Reimagining: to produce from a refreshed or new viewpoint; to imagine or conceive something in a new way


Close window