Design, Technology and Innovation Fellows Program

Founded in 2016 by the City of Austin’s Innovation Office and Communications & Technology Management departments, the Design, Technology and Innovation Fellows (DTI Fellows) program provides an opportunity for civic-minded designers and developers to bring the principles of the technology sector into government. In 2017, the DTI Fellows established a foundation to transform municipal services leveraging industry best practices, from recruiting a well-qualified talent pool, to standardizing project management practices and research-driven methodologies.

To build their ground-breaking team, the DTI Fellows introduced new talent recruiting strategies to attract competitive technology industry professionals to work on municipal challenges. In 2017, there was a 400% increase in the number of qualified applicants for design and technology roles through new methods of marketing, advertising, networking events and social media. The recruitment efforts resulted in more than 20 additional designers, developers, and project managers successfully hired to work across the City of Austin.
As their team grew, the DTI Fellows established new standards for design and technology to raise the bar for service delivery. Prioritizing accessibility and equity, the fellows set new practices for agile project management and relationship management with department directors, division managers, and external stakeholders, delivering improved outcomes for residents on projects related to recyclingpermittinghomelessnesspublic safety, and digital services infrastructure. 
Among their projects was a six month partnership with the Development Services Department to improve the residential permitting user experience. With a user-centric approach, the DTI Fellows were able to dive deep into the challenges faced by permitting customers and generate practical solutions. In 2017, team launched, a new web resource to help guide users through the permitting process. The groundwork laid by the DTI Fellows has been critical in establishing a new approach to digital services.