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Digital Strategic Framework

Digital’s purpose is to make City services easy to use, and work for everyone. We do this by applying human-centered design, process improvement, and performance measurement to continuously improve service delivery, civic engagement, and civic technology.

We Believe:

  • Government should be designed with and for people
  • Empathy for all users leads to equitable outcomes
  • Data and information should be used to create trust, transparency, and better government
  • Building capacity across City teams empowers positive change
  • Technology should be secure, accessible, and make life easier

Strategic Framework

The new demands of the digital era require a new approach to government. Community expectations of how government communicates, engages, and delivers services are changing. Our response is to assess what is working, what is broken, and transform services to meet the needs of our users and the expectations of the modern era.

The core purpose of our department is to help make City services easy to use and work for everyone. We do this by leveraging digital principles such as designing with our users, practicing continual improvement, using data to drive decisions, addressing privacy and security, and leveraging modern technology.

We serve to proactively empower and support City departments in delivering modern services that meet the needs and exceed the expectations of the community, especially people who need help the most. That means community voices are heard, more services are available online, and government processes make sense.

If we truly care about outcomes, it is not enough to just provide a service. We must design the delivery of services so they work from the community’s perspective and thus, that government work for everyone.”  –Jim Schutz, City Manager

To make City services easy to use, and work for everyone.

  • Reliable and trusted
  • Human-centered and empowering
  • Open and transparent
  • Inclusive and collaborative
  • Government should be designed with and for people
  • Empathy for all users leads to equitable outcomes
  • Data and information should be used to create trust, transparency, and better government
  • Building capacity across City teams empowers positive change
  • Technology should be secure, accessible, and make life easier

Areas of Focus

This pyramid illustrates our department’s areas of focus and how success in each of these areas is interrelated.

Our Department strives to build a more inclusive, participatory, and engaged community in San Rafael by making residents, community stakeholders, and business owners a part of the conversation.

Engagement & community partnerships

Create opportunities to listen to the community. Build strong relationships with community partners to encourage participation, volunteerism, civic engagement, and public involvement in City decision-making processes.

Communication & outreach

Provide information that is transparent, timely, and accurate, aiming to reach all audiences through a variety of communication outlets.


Increase engagement in underserved communities and encourage the voices of residents typically not heard in the public process. Expand digital access in underserved communities to create more opportunities for economic mobility and civic involvement.

Continuous learning and improvement

Create feedback tools and methods to measure success of services and engagement. Provide training opportunities for City staff to practice continuous learning and improvement.

Government services should be easy to use, accessible, and designed with an understanding of user needs.

Human-centered design

Apply the principles of human-centered design and empathy to orient services around user needs and build trust with the public.


Ensure government services are accessible to people with disabilities, different cultures, on any device, and in multiple languages.

Project management

Evangelize and modernize approaches to project management and be a leader in getting things done on time and on budget.

Product management

Build a culture that champions the contiuous improvement of user experience and service delivery.


Provide collaborative and modern tools that empower employees to do their best work.

Data is an abundant and powerful asset that can impact everything from service delivery to program management, to policy making. We will lead the way to a data-centric city by investing in improved data access, management, and use by city employees and the community. We will use analytics tools to deliver services more efficiently, prioritize risk more strategically, enforce laws more effectively, and increase transparency.

Data use and analytics

Improve data literacy through programs that will help employees explore, refine, and enhance skills in data use, data management, and analytical skills in service of their role. Use data to identify patterns and trends that enable better policy decisions, and prioritize work for greater impact.

Data governance and management

Ensure data is treated as a strategic asset through data quality control, lifecycle management, internal data access and infrastructure, external access and risk management, and opportunities for use and reuse.


Protect data, react appropriately to breaches, and secure user privacy as well as guard the privacy of residents and businesses in our community.

Performance Metrics

Improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of services by building data-driven feedback loops and aligning toward measurable impact and outcomes.

Data sharing

Share meaningful data and support the use of open data within and outside of the city while improving transparency and trust in government.

We will serve the City Departments’ use of technology by providing support for critical technical infrastructure and security. We will introduce principles and provide the guidance that will allow staff to use technology to innovate and try new things.

Speed & connectivity

Provide stable, high-capacity, and resilient wireless, broadband, wifi systems for City staff, services, and facilities.

Tech support

Provide 24/7 support that meets the needs of employees, minimizes disruptions, and expedited resolution of issues.


Support the present and future needs of City departments with secure and stable solutions, integrated tools, and streamlined maintenance.


Protect the City network against security threats through maintenance, monitoring, user training, and education.

Technology standards and policy

Define standards, policy, and guidelines for technology and software purchases and usage, including guidance for open source.

Our goals are ambitious and the vision for human-centered government service cannot be achieved overnight. This Strategic Famework document serves as a foundation for our Department and outlines the principles and values that will inform our work in the years ahead.

Specific projects and actions are outlined in a workplan that will be developed and assessed each fiscal year. Additionally, our Technology Improvement Plan will identify technology infrastructure projects that will support the goal of modernizing technology Citywide.

Related plans


Building a Foundation (Red)

This graph shows how projects in both our annual work plan and the 3-year technology improvement plan will, in earlier years, be more heavily focused on building a strong foundation. These include efforts to streamline our services, reduce disruptions and outages, increase connectivity, and move away from legacy systems.

Target Goals (Blue)

Over time we hope to ramp up efforts to reach our goals to better engage with broader cross-sections of the community, build a culture of data and human-centered problem-solving, and measure performance of City services around outcomes and impact.

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