097: Michael Sarasti (City of Miami)

Michael Sarasti on Innovation City

“You can put more creativity in your work, you can be more inspired and have a deeper connection to your purpose, because if you understand what problem you’re trying to solve and what you’re trying to do in the community, then you will feel better about the work you’re doing.” — Michael Sarasti

Welcome to Innovation City—powered by Venture Cafe—where Tyler Kelley and Michael Johnson, Co-Founders of SLAM! Agency, interview innovators, creators, and disruptors to discover how business is changing in the modern world.

Created and produced by SLAM! Agency in cooperation with Venture Cafe St. Louis and Venture Cafe Miami, Innovation City gives you an inside look at how rapidly business and culture are changing thanks to increasing diversity and inclusion, heightened creativity, and a stronger and better-connected business community. Venture Cafe is the largest combined gathering of entrepreneurs and innovators anywhere in the world. Events are held every Thursday in St. Louis, Miami, and other leading innovation cities around the globe.

Today’s guest is Michael Sarasti, CIO / Director of Innovation and Technology at City of Miami. As the city’s first Chief Innovation Officer, Michael has been aiding city government in process improvement to help make the government as streamlined as possible. Michael joins the team to discuss how he is liaising the startup and tech communities, training city employees on the practice of innovation, helping people find more time for creativity in their work, the importance of user-testing, Miami’s surge of innovation and new business, and much more!

They discuss:

  • Being the region’s first Chief Innovation Officer
  • Defining innovation as process improvement
  • Liaising the startup and tech communities
  • Training city employees on the practice of innovation
    • To date, over 200 city employees have been trained
  • Trying to get the recurring operation of innovating internally to stick
  • People, often times, don’t know how to define their problems
  • Trying to remove mundane tasks
  • Helping people find more time for creativity in their work
  • One city employee was able to find $75,000 in time savings by taking some in-person forms and putting them online for 24-hour access
  • Pulling ideas and inspo from other places that have had previous success
  • Giving the city employees tools to take processes online
  • The importance of user-testing
  • Freeing up time allows for employees to work ahead and have a free flow of ideas
  • The everlasting presence of the Miami “hustle”
  • Miami’s surge of innovation and new business
  • Miami’s female entrepreneurs are doing great things for the city and innovation community
  • The attraction of Miami and its connection to Latin America help with recruitment
  • Working on creating a better environment for small businesses to thrive in Miami
  • Making the Miami city government more seamless
  • Being part of an electro experimental rock band, Raker
    • New album coming out later this year
  • Connect with City of Miami on Twitter
  • Reach out to Michael on Twitter and LinkedIn
  • Follow Raker on Twitter and Instagram