Innovation Projects


image of City of Austin Technologist

City of Austin digital services include viewing Austin recycling and trash schedules, getting in line for your driver’s license, registering your kids for summer camp, and other goals residents can accomplish–online. Austin residents rely on digital services more and more every day and city teams realize how important it is to meet their expectations. During the 2017 spring retreat, Austin’s City Council cited the importance of creating government that works for everyone.

The Design, Technology, & Innovation Fellows partnered with two City of Austin departments: Communications & Information Management and Communications & Technology Management, to learn what’s not working about our current website and to define, and more importantly- test new methods for developing and accessing City of Austin digital services. Also key is building a more agile technology foundation.

This is an overview of our approach, shared learnings, and progress we’ve made.


image of Elizabeth drawing a reflection timeline

In May, 2017, our team got together to gather requirements, evaluate, and then implement a new technology foundation or “stack” for all City of Austin services. Following in the well-documented footsteps of other innovative cities like Boston and Indianapolis, and international governments like the United Kingdom, we discovered we needed more than a technology foundation–we needed shared values, a roadmap for reaching our goals, the teams in place to do the work and new workflows to support them.

We interviewed City of Austin technology decision makers and implementers in their work spaces–gaining an understanding of their challenges when managing digital services. We wrapped initial discovery then made a strategic decision to break our big tech project into three smaller project segments:

  • Developing a Digital Service Strategy and Roadmap: developing shared values and tools for approaching, evaluating, and implementing digital services.
  • City Services Workflow: designing, developing, and testing a new service-oriented web experience with and for residents and city employees.
  • Shared Microservice: designing, developing, and testing a shared service, like payments or forms, that would serve many residents and departments across Austin.

Follow this project page to see our methods, learnings, and progress.