“When you talk about impact — which we all want to have — they’re making impact for millions of people right now, in this moment, on the Internet,” O’Neil said.
The firm is based in Washington, D.C., but O’Neil said he’ll work remotely and remain based in Chicago. He plans to stay involved in Chicago’s civic technology community.
“I will continue to have a voice as a resident of this city in the way things are run and how they go,” O’Neil said. “You can’t build good products for hundreds of millions of people in this country without caring about their digital skills and their access to your tools.”
Today I published an article in Civicist that lays out the enormous investments made at Smart Chicago in civic tech and questions whether those were the right models. It lays the foundation for a more serious discussion of community technology organizing models we’ve pioneered at Smart Chicago. Here’s a snip:
Smart Chicago’s focus is on the unmet technology organizing needs in neighborhoods all over the city.
Sustainability of civic tech organizing is basically resolved in Chicago. What remains is a city of 2.7 people million with precious few invitations to range beyond their own block, very few jobs in tech for people with low to medium digital skills, and very few ways to listen and hear the needs of the people.