Kerry O’Connor has served as the City of Austin’s Chief Innovation Officer since March 2014. The Innovation Office works with City teams to identify and test effective solutions to the complex challenges facing Austin. Under her direction, the Innovation Office has fostered innovation capabilities for strategic co-creation, design research, visualization, agile project management, digital services, open source development, and open innovation practices.
Currently, the Innovation Office focuses on 1) open government and smart city approaches - using emerging technologies to solve real problems for people in Austin; 2) understanding and addressing complex social problems, such as homelessness and displacement due to gentrification, supported by a three-year, $1.25 million dollar innovation team grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies, and 3) MyPass, an MVP technology platform to help residents control and share their identity documents through a distributed ledger, facilitating their access to social and health services especially vital to ending homelessness, such as housing, benefits, and access to medical care. MyPass is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Previously, Kerry worked at the U.S. Department of State, where she established an innovation unit called the Research and Design Center in the Office of the Secretary of State, which offered research, consulting, brainstorming facilitation, and strategic design services. She also developed and managed an employee idea generation program, helped architect sustainable management reforms, coordinated logistics for the Pittsburgh G20 Summit, served as an executive staffer, and improved programs and operations at two U.S. Embassies.
She holds a Master of Arts in International Affairs from The George Washington University and a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs from James Madison University.
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