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Peter Hirshberg - Participant

Peter Hirshberg serves as innovation advisor to cities and enterprises where he develops strategies that redefine how citizens and visitors interact with the city, with a particular focus on the smart city, the internet of things and participatory urbanism. Peter comes to this work after a 25-year career as a technology executive, including a 10-year tenure in marketing for Apple Computer.

Based in San Francisco, Peter is co-author of The Maker Cities Playbook, which examines economic development and the many experiments that are defining the renewal of America’s cities, in collaboration with Maker Media, the Kaufmann Foundation, and the White House Office of Science and Technology Planning. He is a Senior Fellow at the USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership and Policy and a Henry Crown fellow of the Aspen Institute.

He is founder of two centers of urban innovation in San Francisco:  The City Innovate Foundation which operates the Superpublic civic innovation lab, a partnership with the City of San Francisco, the U.S. Department of Commerce, The General Services Administration and UC Berkeley.  He is also co-founder and chairman of the Gray Area Foundation for the arts, San Francisco’s leading art and Technology organization home to many urban prototyping projects that are transforming the city. As an advisor to United Nations Global Pulse he’s addressed the General Assembly on real-time data for international development and is editor of, “Taking the Global Pulse.”

Peter was founder and CEO of Elemental Software (sold to Macromedia), President and CEO of (purchased by Estee Lauder, Chanel and Clairns), and Chairman of Technorati, the pioneering search engine and ad network for social media.  While at Apple Computer Hirshberg headed Enterprise Marketing, driving the company’s efforts in Networking and Communication well before the Internet, when consumers had little idea why they needed to connect to anything, and business customers doubted that Apple even understood what connectivity was. “That helped me understand why empathy and story-telling are so important to innovation,” said Hirshberg, who questioned what a quotation was doing in his biography. As consultant he’s worked with executive teams at Time Warner, Best Buy, Hertz, Sony, Unilever, Thomson Reuters, IBM, Verizon, GE, Estee Lauder, Telefonica and many others on digital and growth strategies. In 2015 he was a contributor to the MIT anthology, “From Bitcoin to Burning Man and Beyond: The Quest for Identity and Autonomy in Digital Society.”



The City Innovate Foundation



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