Design, Technology, and Innovation Projects

Of all the prospects raised by the evolution of digital culture, the most tantalizing is the possibility that technology could fuse with politics to create a more civil society. - Jon Katz

Strategic Intent

A statement with a point of view about the future, a sense of discovery and destiny that focuses attention, motivates, guides resources, allows for flexible implementation.


Policies and process for framing, making, and weighing tradeoffs. Data-informed decisions require 1) reliable quantitative and qualitative data, 2) active consideration of data


The way the rules, norms, standards, and actions are structured, sustained, and regulated; and how teams are held accountable.

Discovery phase feedback that led to this section

During and after the April 18, 2017 Smart Cities Council Readiness Workshop, we asked for advice from participants through an insights campaign. We learned:

“The City needs to identify the decision makers and explain the decision-making process for Smart City projects.”

“Contributors suggested the City measure against benchmarks (some of which already exist) so that Austin can check progress against achieving our goals.”

“Contributors suggest that the City needs to facilitate connections and leverage existing programs supporting City Council outcomes.”

“Improvements to the City’s procurement process are critical to the success (and even initiation) of projects.”

“Contributors suggested that Smart City projects should be flexible and adaptable over time.”

“Contributors suggested that the City approach Smart Cities with a regional and geographically-distributed focus instead of concentrating solutions or ignoring interconnectedness of systems.”

“The City needs to effectively engage all residents to account for the value proposition of projects based on existing needs and accessibility of solutions.”

“The City needs a better identified entryway for specific solutions and technologies to be heard and receive feedback.”

“Smart City projects that should be balanced with a focus on both existing needs and future-oriented opportunities.”

“The City should value data as an asset in service delivery and partnerships in ways that: 1) respect intellectual property; 2) assess the cost of unauthorized disclosure; 3) address data ownership; and, 4) inform partnerships.”

“Contributors noted many considerations for managing Smart Cities as a program, including: goals, maturity, measures, value/cost drivers, critical infrastructure, and key resources.”

“There is a need for a concerted effort on privacy and security that includes policies, processes, and staffing.”

“Contributors said the city needs to enable a state of readiness for agile and iterative implementation of projects.

“The City needs to develop guidance to support prototyping and experimenting in an ethical and transparent way.”

Challenge areas identified

  • How might we provide transparent governance of smart city projects?
  • How might we measure our progress in achieving smart city goals compared to other cities?
  • How might we use the City Council’s strategic outcomes to prioritize smart city projects?