- Tell us a little bit about yourself, your background and your position with the city.
I am originally from Brazil but was mostly raised in South Florida. I did my undergraduate in Marketing with a Finance minor and my Masters in International Business. Both at NSU. I’ve always been the “techy” and “creative” type. I‘m fascinated with creating things from scratch. The entrepreneurial journey has always been frequent theme in my career. Prior to my role with the City of Boca, I was innovating in the both the Corporate (Fortune 500) and Start-up world. While at Jarden (Acquired by Newell for $13B) I was the founding member of the Transformational Innovation Group, a corporate new ventures group focused on identifying, developing and commercializing new product and business opportunities outside of the organizations core business.
After Jarden, I cofounded PetMio a pet technology and nutrition company. At PetMio we launched human-grade pet food products. We also developed one of the most advanced pet health AI algorithms that is currently being used for genetics and pet health research.
I was also a Partner at a Miami-based Brand and Innovation consultancy (KMG) with Fortune 500 and Start-up clients across multiple industries (CPG, Tech, AR, consumer Goods and more). I am also an adjunct professor at NSU teaching Creativity and Innovation.
For the City of Boca Raton, I am currently heading up the newly formed Office of Innovation. Our role is to lead strategic development and execution of our SMART City and Innovation Ecosystem Strategy.
- What does an Innovation Strategist do?
Currently, I am leading the development of Boca Raton’s SMART City and Innovation Ecosystem Strategy. There is a lot to unpack in both of those areas. We are starting out by doing research into Boca’s existing technology and innovation ecosystem. There are great things already happening. However, we want to know in detail what those are and what are the areas where we can improve. Understanding this will allow us to create a detailed vision and strategy for the city.
- We heard you want to develop and implement SMART City initiatives. What does that mean?
SMART city is a pretty broad field and it can mean different things to different cities. Generally though, it centers on utilizing technology to create a more efficient city and improve the overall quality of life. It touches on everything from mobility (traffic and transportation) to green technology, education, infrastructure, environment and more. The direct application of SMART city technologies and initiatives varies based on each city’s unique needs, goals and priorities. For example, in cities like Hong Kong, technology applications like sensors and analytics around air quality is a major priority for them because of their high air pollution issues. In Boca Raton, air pollution is important but we don’t have as high of an issue as Hong Kong or other cities. As we continue our research, one of the goals is to understand and prioritize the unique needs of our city so that we can begin mapping out which smart city applications and technology make the most sense for Boca. Based on our early assessment, we do see mobility (transportation and traffic) and green technology as important areas of focus.
- What is in the pipeline for you this year?
For the first year, there are three areas of focus:
SMART city strategy development
Innovation Ecosystem strategy development
Creating a brand identity and story for Boca Raton around technology & innovation.
- What is your ultimate goal for the city as far as innovation?
One of the ultimate goals is create an ecosystem of innovation that is continuously creating breakthroughs in technology, education, the arts and more. We want to create an even more vibrant entrepreneurial community that attracts the best minds to come live here and work here. Becoming a “Hub” for innovation and technology is our “Mission Mars.” It’s a big dream, that’s going to require a lot of time and work but everything starts with a dream.