(referencing LinkedIn poll “What are the BIGGEST CHALLENGES facing Austin? Your opinions and ideas matter!”)
First off, folks, thank you for taking the time to show that you truly care about our city and its future. In preparation to a hopeful interview for the City of Austin Chief Innovation Officer position, I set out to investigate what fellow residents are concerned about; but more importantly, I wanted to gather your ideas for innovative solutions to share in my presentation. I’ve lived in Austin two separate times, started several businesses, offered employment, devoted time to local charities, voted, recycled and oriented myself with the movers-and-shakers who are tirelessly helping to create positive economic, technological, cultural and social change in this growing city. With my capabilities, connections, street-smarts, and innate understanding of how to connect a message with an audience, I figured I could earn an interview.
Deciding to GO BIG or GO HOME, I reached out to local thought leaders who earnestly gave me their endorsements; I even had meetings with three City of Austin department leaders to learn more, ask questions, present ideas and show my passion for this role. In a few short weeks, I designed a whole new platform for our city government’s Innovation Office to inform, inspire and innovate Austin into action. Well, suffice it to say, I never got the interview. Nope. Last Friday at 5:09pm, I received a generic email and regurgitated note from the (presumable overpaid and completely out-of-touch-with-Austin) out-of-state recruiting firm (CPS HR Consulting www.cpshr.us) who said I’ve been passed over, as I was not the most qualified.
The irony here, folks, is two-fold: First, in my talks with the actual City department leaders, they mentioned that this new position is still a bit vague in description, responsibilities, and direction, as is the entire Innovation Office only recently established. Second, where’s the INNOVATION in hiring a Sacramento recruiter to find the golden nugget needed to really spearhead this totally new office and leadership role? Really, how can someone in a cube 1000 miles away get the gist of the most unique applicants by simply scanning a resume? Argh. (Many of you out there still looking for work fully understand the pain and assbackwardness that technology can cause when trying to match human beings to a growing entity with a unique culture, mission, vision, pulse, etc.) Alas, I can understand that there is a system to vetting out candidates, and I am not a sore loser…just wanted a chance to express my thoughts and get a shot at a chat.
I’d like to remind the anyone interested, that the truest, simplest definition of the word INNOVATION is “significant, positive change”. Period.
Net-net: I believe the Chief Innovation Officer for the City of Austin needs to be an entrepreneur, visionary, spokesperson, liaison, researcher, interviewer, connector, marketeer, producer, project manager, coach, creative director, motivator, and passionate, active citizen who gives a damn about people. Frankly, yet humbly speaking, I believe that describes me, and so do a whole bunch of wonderful, brilliant folks who have supported me for over a decade. And I believe the City decision-makers may have let one of the most qualified candidates slip away.
All that said, the results from the poll I offered up garnered almost 50 responses and focused on these major issue, listed in order of most “votes”. I will have a write-up summary of people’s ideas for solutions posted soon.
Traffic/Transportation: Cap Metro, cabs, bike lanes, lack of carpools, money wasted on toll roads, and too many more to list…
City Government: City Manager led vs. Mayor led, Unguided system, Debt, Permit overload, Out-of-touch & overpaid City Council
Housing: Affordability, Property taxes
Water: Drought, Waste
Infrastructure: Over-marketing on popularity lists, Population explosion, Quality job availability
Culture: Dilution of “weirdness”… turning into another Dallas, Inter-generational, inter-racial, inter-faith community, Over-focus on technology
Homelessness: Lack of resources & housing, Need for education, job integration system
Education: Healthcare, Schools
Thank you again so very much for showing your spirit and sharing your thoughts. If you have any interest in helping me simply get a darn interview with the City of Austin for the Chief Innovation Officer position, please share a note, post or tweet #AustinNeedsKimberlieDykeman
Cheers to the possibilities!