Focus areas where we are bringing human-centered and agile approaches to solve complex problems.
Understanding and designing solutions for homelessness (i-Team)
With a three-year, $1.25 million dollar grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Innovation Office in 2018 completed an extensive discovery project of the experience of homelessness in Austin. This research has provided new insights and opportunities for services and solutions that span across City programs and external collaborations. Future work will include research and design of services to prevent homelessness. Prior to this work, we played a leadership role in facilitating the City’s Homeless Outreach Street Team (HOST) pilot program, a collaboration between City and non-City entities to work proactively to close the gap in services to the homeless and reduce crime.
Mayor’s Blockchain Challenge
We are working with the Austin Mayor’s Office and Dell Medical School to improve access to services by using blockchain technology to permanently store and maintain IDs and other important documents. With an initial grant from the Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayor’s Challenge in 2018, we researched needs for delivering identify services and convened technology leaders to develop viable business models and early prototypes. We are taking we learned to continue work on these and other solutions that will improve access to services for those experiencing homelessness, and in turn empower them to improve their quality of life.
Smart City Initiative
The Innovation Office, in partnership with Communications & Technology Management, lead the City’s adoption of the Smart City Strategic Roadmap. Our vision outlines how we as a community might use emerging technology to solve real problems for people in Austin. In this role, the Innovation Office coordinates across departments, provides tools and resources, and helps build relationships with universities, community groups, businesses, and the technology sector. We also advise other departments on transparency and civic engagement as part of the City of Austin’s participation in the international Open Government Partnership.
Open Government commitments
As part of our participation in the international Open Government Partnership, the City of Austin co-creates – with the Austin community – commitments to promote transparency, community engagement, accountability, and technology innovation. We joined this partnership and launched our first set of commitments in 2016 and are currently preparing for a new set of open government commitments for 2018-2020.