Mayor Walsh Appoints Nicolas Diaz Amigo Chief Innovation and Data Officer

Harvard Kennedy School graduate experienced in local government
performance management and data analytics fills critical API position

Syracuse, N.Y. — Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh announced the appointment of Nicolas Diaz Amigo, a Bloomberg Harvard Fellow with international experience in government innovation and data, as the Chief Innovation and Data Officer (CIDO) in the Office of Accountability, Performance, and Innovation (API).

Diaz Amigo will lead the API team in using data and innovation to find new and efficient ways to improve how the City of Syracuse delivers services. As CIDO, Diaz Amigo will analyze the City’s operations, develop and implement new solutions that improve residents’ lives, set strategic priorities, and continue to build a culture of data-informed decision making.

Diaz Amigo has an extensive background in developing data-driven solutions and has worked with local governments in South America and the United States over the past six years.  He earned a Master in Public Policy degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He also holds a professional degree in Political Science from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile.

“The API team plays an invaluable role in the City’s ability to effectively and creatively address the many challenges we face. In these difficult times, their relevance has never been greater,” said Mayor Walsh, who built on the Bloomberg Philanthropies-funded Innovation team to create the API office in 2018. “Nico’s unique combination of expertise in both data and innovation in the public sector is perfectly suited to the structure and purpose of the API office.  He joins an outstanding API team with a national reputation for excellence and leadership, and a strong foundation for continued success.”

As a Bloomberg Harvard Summer Fellow with the City of Sioux Falls, Diaz Amigo worked in the Department of Innovation and Technology, establishing the HousingStat application to track the City of Sioux Falls’s affordable housing targets. He has held a research position while pursuing his graduate studies, examining information related to blighted properties in the cities of Birmingham, Alabama, Topeka, Kansas, and Jackson, Mississippi.

Diaz Amigo has built performance dashboards, instituted machine learning technology, and brings story-telling through data skills to the team. He has coordinated multi-disciplinary experts to help advance fire prevention efforts in Sioux Falls, and has tracked COVID-19 hotspots in Chelsea, Massachusetts using artificial intelligence applications.

A native of Chile, Diaz Amigo served in various roles in the Municipality of Santiago for over three years under two administrations. He was a part of Santiago’s team that was awarded $1 million as one of five cities out of the 290 applicants throughout Latin America and the Caribbean to win the Bloomberg Philanthropies 2016 Mayor’s Challenge. While there, he worked across departments to create a new procurement process, incorporating data and technological innovation, and specialized in speech writing and preparing policy briefs.

Diaz Amigo’s experience also includes behavioral insights, public health and public sector innovation. During his time studying public policy at Harvard he focused on digital transformation, the use of data analytics for public impact, and data-driven decision-making. For his thesis project, he co-authored “Scaling Innovation in Sioux Falls through Problem- oriented Governance,” and worked on a research project where he was also the co-author entitled “The Analytics Playbook for Cities,” both published by the Roy and Lila Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard.

Diaz Amigo will begin his work with the City of Syracuse in mid-September.