Louis Stewart, chief innovation officer of the city of Sacramento, California, was hired to be a trailblazer.
His vision is to gather the city's strengths and foster an environment to improve on them.
"My role is a change agent," he said. "You step into a municipality and you start looking at infrastructure, you start looking at workforce development."
The mix of ingredients to make innovation work is an "all-of-the-above" mix of looking at roads and lighting, technology, inclusivity and design of public spaces.
He analyzes the processes at work in and around the city, and "what you can bring to take the city to the next level," including reinventing Sacramento as a destination city.
Another area of focus for Stewart is mobility and autonomous vehicle development.
"Mobility is the baseline for economic development all around the world," he said.