Social Impact Topics:

  1. Creating opportunities for Civic Engagement**
  1. How do we get more people involved in policy creation and visualizing public spaces
  1. Create a safe way for people to engage in a constructive political dialogues**
  2. Create a way for engaged citizens to put ideas into action.
  1. Urban Planning - Creating public spaces in urban areas**
  1. Convert existing spaces to public / natural spaces
  2. How to improve access to these spaces?
  1. Education in Technology + Design *
  1. Organizing communities for social change (how to bring like minded groups together)
  1. Internet connectivity (including devices) for low income communities**
  1. Point up -- I vote not this issue just because based on past research, I’m not sure it’s as ardent of an issue in the U.S. as some of these other topics…
  1. Improving Transportation / Commuter Travel Times
  1. How can urban farms assimilate best into their communities (especially in gentrified areas that may affect relationships with neighbors *** 
  2. Improving lives for those with allergies who live in Austin**
  3. Sanctuary Cities - creating a safe place for undocumented immigrants
  4. Resources for Refugees
  5. Schools that have to provide reduced or free lunches vs. restaurants throwing food away (is there a solution there?)*
  1. Access to Affordable Housing
  1. Access to Healthy Food*
  1. Affordable Childcare for working families **
  1. Affordable child care for low-income families that enables parents to hold jobs or go to appointments (for example, some states have ridesharing programs to enable parents to have a free ride to the doctor, but may limit them to only bringing 1 child with them; what are they supposed to do with their other 2 kids? etc.)
  1. Combating homelessness
  1. How do you account for overflow housing needed during inclement weather (super hot summers in Austin, or cold snowy winters in another city)?

Sample of Smart City Technologies:

  1. Transportation Solutions and Data (ride shares, car pools, something even MORE crazy like teletransportation -- who knows!)
  1. See above under Affordable Childcare: transportation solutions for ride sharing to doctor’s visits?
  1. Alternative Energy Solutions 
  2. Advanced Wireless and Sensor Networks
  1. Cyber Security
  2. Govt/Civic Service Innovations (ex. Voting technology, app that helps you chat with your city council member)
  1. Healthcare Services (ex. How to prevent contagious diseases with tech, get alerts, etc)
  2. Resource/Commerce
  3. Citizen Science - the collection and analysis of data relating to the natural world by members of the general public, typically as part of a collaborative project with professional scientists.
  4. Emergency Services (ex. apps for 911 response, tracking severe weather patterns, etc)
  5. Waste management (can technology be used for collecting trash?)
  6. Water management (how could new technology prevent water waste? Either from consumer households or from city water sources like Edwards’ Aquifer or Lady Bird Lake)
  7. Data Analytics Tools (how could data help Austin leadership better understand the constituents?)
  8. Artificial Intelligence and Drones (could they unlock sources of contaminated water? Zika infected mosquitoes?)

Interview Questions:

Background Information

  1. Where did you grow up? (Where do you consider “home”?)
  2. Tell me about your family
  3. What occupies your time?


  1. What’s the perfect saturday look like for you?
  1. What are two favorite, not work related, activities/hobbies?
  1. What type of shows do you like to watch? How about books or movies?
  2. Tell me about where you like to get your news from and why?


  1. How do you feel about the current political landscape?
  2. How did you come to develop your personal politics?
  3. Do your views align with a particular political party?
  4. Tell me a story about a time you felt politically engaged?      (why why why?)
  5. How would you describe some of the biggest challenges facing our (your?) community?
  6. Do you go out of your way to discuss political topics with people who have different ideological views?
  7. What hopes and fears do you have about the current political landscape?
  8. How would you like to see the future be different?
  9. Do you feel that you’re politically involved?
  1. If so, in what ways do you get involved?
  2. If not, why?