As part of our upcoming Civic Futures Summit, we’ll be spending the evening of Wednesday, October 2nd recognizing the work of our colleagues in governments, universities, and community organizations across Central Texas.
We’ll be joined by colleagues and elected officials from across the region to recognize teams and individuals across six categories, ranging from how we bring out the full potential of our employees to how we engage with residents in ways that are inclusive, meaningful, and sustainable.
Government is what we make it. Our colleagues at governments and community organizations across the region have been pushing for the changes our residents need, and we’re looking forward to conversations with teams across the region — including the City of Austin, Travis County, Bastrop, Hutto, San Antonio, and our university community — about the challenges we’ve seen across different organizations, where we’ve been successful, and things we would do differently in the future. …
In late 2017, some of our local government folks in Austin began discussing ideas for a new type of conference.
We wanted to build on the magic that happens when we’re able to meet with folks doing similar work in other cities and across different levels of government, in learning how other governments address similar problems and being able to build on already-existing programs and policies. But we noticed how we often struggle to justify stepping away from work for the week of travel and attendance that most national conferences require.
We were also frustrated with the way that many conferences — both local and national — give a significant proportion of stage time to sponsors and the specific solutions they’re selling, as well as “success stories” that don’t tell us the real-talk about what didn’t work, what they wish they would have done instead, and what kept their teams up at night. We were curious about how we could convene folks in government from across the region in spaces where we can speak broadly about our challenges and have honest conversations about different methods and approaches for how we might address them. …
In May 2016, we launched the City of Austin’s Design, Technology, and Innovation Fellows program to “bring the principles, values, and practices of the technology sector into government.” In our planning documents, we listed four high-level goals:
And… we did it! We completed all of these in our first 18 months: