2022 Annual Report of the City of Kansas City, Missouri’s Emerging Technology Board

Adrienne B. Haynes
34 min readJun 5, 2023

Established by Ordinance 190838

Submitted to Mayor Quinton Lucas, the City Council, and City Manager Brian Platt

July 31, 2022

PRINCIPAL AUTHORS: Emerging Technology Board Chair Dr. Adrienne B. Haynes, Esq. and Board Co-Chair Matthew Pjecha.

Various members of the Emerging Technology Board and the Emerging Technology Board’s Community Working Group contributed to the preparation of this Report and its appendices as described in the Report. Special acknowledgement to Board advisor Professor Tony Luppino of UMKC School of Law, Facilitator Richard Kane and Professor Shannon Jackson of UMKC for their contribution to ongoing Board education, including the Spring and Winter Board retreats.

Contents

Executive Summary 3

History of Smart City Efforts & Development of the Emerging Technology Board 4

Achievements, Performance Metrics, and Costs Incurred 5

Emerging Technology Board Achievements 5

Performance Metrics 6

Developing Emerging Technology Board Operations 6

Spring Board Training Retreat 7

Spring Training Retreat Materials 7

Retreat Agenda & Session Descriptions 7

Key Learnings & Principal Observations 9

Establishing the ETB Community Working Group 16

Fostering Interdepartmental Communication 17

Providing City decision makers with timely, diverse, and meaningful input 17

Costs Incurred 18

Recommendations for the City of Kansas City, Missouri 18

Establish an online “Front Door” for communication of the City’s Emerging Technology efforts. 18

Support the shift from decentralized to centralized IT governance with clear policies and adequate funding. 19

Provide the Board with funding and staff support, as described in the Ordinance. 20

Support the Emerging Technology Board by designating City staff to participate in the ETB Community Working Group. 21

Prioritize digital equity and inclusion with respect to data management and algorithm implementation, ensuring that the full diversity of residents and visitors are considered. 21

Annual Report Appendices

A. City of Kansas City, Missouri Ordinance 190838

B. Emerging Technology Board Directory

C. Emerging Technology Board Reading List Recommendations, Compiled November 2021, updated July 2022

D. Spring 2022 City of Kansas City Emerging Technology Board Training Agenda

E. Spring Retreat Presentation: How Kansas City Engages with Emerging Technology Today, by former Chief Analytics Officer Kate Bender

F. City of Kansas City, Missouri Emerging Technologies, by Chief Information Officer David Evans

G. Emerging Technology Board, City of Kansas City, Missouri Department Survey for Use of Technology & Exploration of Emerging Technologies

H. Spring Retreat Materials: background links for the Panel on Municipal Emerging Technology Policy, a National Perspective, by Professor Tony Luppino

I. Spring Retreat Presentation: From Evolution to Progress to Innovation, by Professor Shannon Jackson

J. Spring Retreat Presentation: Management of Emerging Technologies, by Richard Cane

K. Emerging Technology Board Meeting Agenda, December 7, 2021

L. Emerging Technology Board Meeting Agenda, February 15, 2022

M. Emerging Technology Board Meeting Agenda, April 19, 2022

N. Emerging Technology Board Meeting Agenda, July 19, 2022

Executive Summary

The purpose of this report is to summarize the structure and achievements of the City of Kansas City, Missouri’s Emerging Technology Board and to communicate the Board’s performance metrics and budget. This report also provides a history on the City’s smart city and Emerging Technology Board efforts, outlines the Board’s priorities, and offers recommendations for the City based on input gathered by community members and stakeholders.

The City of Kansas City, Missouri has been identified as the third fastest growing technology market in the nation[1], ranked after San Francisco, California and Austin, Texas. As a leader in emerging technology efforts for the last ten years, Kansas City has the opportunity to continue it’s leadership in the coming decade with significant investments and opportunities planned, including the $351 million dollar streetcar expansion[2], Meta’s “hyperscale data center”[3], and hosting the World Cup in 2026. Each opportunity will come with opportunities to better leverage the City’s use of technology and data for the benefit of both residents and visitors.

The Emerging Technology Board was created to be one of the main drivers behind the City’s tech-forward pursuits. In its first year, the Emerging Technology Board has made significant progress: outlining a structure of governance, engaging in deep learning with and from local and national experts, and developing a framework to assess significant emerging technology decisions, encourage interdepartmental collaboration, and genuinely engage community members.

From this research and timely, well-informed advice and community member input, the Board offers five recommendations to Mayor Quinton Lucas, the City Council, and City Manager Brian Platt that advance “human-centered uses of emerging technology, interconnectivity, and efficient data driven governance and decision making to improve the delivery of public services and the well-being of residents and visitors”[4].

These recommendations include:

● Establish an online “Front Door” for communication of the City’s Emerging Technology efforts.

● Support the shift from decentralized to centralized IT governance with clear policies and adequate funding.

● Provide the Board with funding and staff support, as described in the Ordinance.

● Support the Emerging Technology Board by designating City staff to participate in the ETB Community Working Group.

● Prioritize digital equity and inclusion with respect to data management and algorithm implementation, ensuring that the full diversity of residents and visitors are considered.

History of Smart City Efforts & Development of the Emerging Technology Board

The City of Kansas City has been a long-time advocate and leader in smart city and emerging technology initiatives. Kansas City was selected for Google Fiber in 2011[5], which brought national attention to our technology efforts. National attention towards smart city efforts continued to grow, and the City “took initial steps toward a digital innovation strategy when it commissioned the Mayors’ Bistate Innovations team to craft a broad-based Digital Playbook in 2011.[6]” In 2013, Mayor Sly James appointed Ashley Z. Hand as the City’s first Chief Innovation Officer and the City launched an Innovation Partnership Program[7] to attract entrepreneurs and start-ups to work with the City by creating a platform for testing new ideas and projects without the challenges of a traditional procurement process. Under Hand’s leadership, the City began to foster a culture of innovation and collaboration by bringing together staff through innovation teams and establishing a process for implementing best practices. In 2015, the City’s first digital roadmap[8] was created to guide the organization towards a more strategic approach to digital inclusion, engagement, open government, supporting the tech industry and becoming a smart city. In addition, the work to begin to develop a unique public-private partnership with Cisco to build the most comprehensive North American Smart + Connected Community project along the 2.2 mile streetcar line in Downtown Kansas City.

Bob Bennett was appointed to serve as the next Chief Innovation Officer in 2015[9]. Bennett served in the role for approximately three and a half years and approached his work in three parts: by seeking federal funds support smart city initiatives, by installing smart city projects; including “public Wi-Fi, comprehensive kiosks for services and a data analytics platform[10]”, and by continuing efforts to expand smart city efforts across the City[11]. Some initial successes included the completion of the $15 million streetcar project, a public-private partnership that resulted in 54 square blocks of free public Wi-Fi, more than 20 interactive video kiosks along the downtown streetcar route, and smart city infrastructure improvements, including smart streetlights, traffic signals, and sensors that gather data to help the city operate more efficiently[12].

Mayor James appointed Alex Braszko to succeed Bennett in May 2019. Under Braszko, who began his service in August 2019 under Mayor Quinton Lucas, the focus of his work was on the development of an Emerging Technology Board. On August 15, 2019, a workshop organized as an activity related to an interdisciplinary Law, Technology and Public Policy course, was held at UMKC to gather feedback and develop a preliminary abstract of a proposal for the City to establish an Emerging Technology Board.

The Emerging Technology Board ordinance 190838 was passed by the City Council and signed by Mayor Quinton Lucas on October 17, 2019. The Emerging Technology Board (the “Board”) was established to replace and expand on the work of the Smart City Advisory Board.

In pursuing this goal, the Board was charged with the following:

(i) fostering a system of collaboration among City departments and agencies on significant emerging technology decisions;

(ii) providing City decision makers with well-informed advice on significant emerging technology decisions involving City uses of emerging technology, City regulation of new technology uses by private entities and by public-private partnerships, consistent with the core principles laid out in the resolution; and

(iii) regularly engaging community stakeholders to help inform such advice[13].

The ordinance directed membership of the Board to be comprised of seven voting (7) members (“Voting Members”) appointed by the Mayor, and five (5) ex-officio members who are heads of or senior staff in departments that cut across substantially all City departments and agencies.

The first Emerging Technology Board members were appointed by Mayor Lucas in the fall of 2021, and the first meeting of the Emerging Technology Board took place in December 2021. Mayor Lucas appointed Assistant City Manager Melissa Kozakiewicz to serve as the City’s next Chief Innovation Officer in December 2021.

Achievements, Performance Metrics, and Costs Incurred

Emerging Technology Board Achievements

The Emerging Technology Board was first convened in December 2021. In its first year, the Emerging Technology Board has accomplished the following:

● Outlined board operations, processes, committees and meeting schedules

● Hosted four (4) board meetings and two (2) committee meetings

● Hosted discussions with private companies interested in providing emerging technology products and frameworks to the City of Kansas City

● Organized and hosted a full day Spring Retreat featuring national experts on emerging trends in municipal technology, included as Appendix D

● Started outreach and relationship development meetings with City staff and department leaders

● Participated in community meetings relating to digital inclusion

● Developed content and templates to assess interdepartmental uses of technology and outlined a framework for evaluating and standardizing the review of emerging technology opportunities. The survey is attached as Appendix G

● Recruited and engaged in outreach efforts for members of the ETB Community Working Group

● Produced more than 15 hours of video content on Board discussion and expert research relating to emerging technology.

Performance Metrics

The performance metrics from the Ordinance include:

● Establish board operations, guidelines, and procedures;

● Engage subject matter experts from diverse fields to train Board members in planning adherence to core principles;

● Regularly engage and gather well-informed, timely, diverse, and meaningful input from residents and other community stakeholders;

● Foster a system of collaboration among City departments and agencies on significant emerging technology decisions;

● Provide City decision makers with timely, diverse, and meaningful input from residents, community stakeholders, and experts on significant emerging technology decisions involving City uses of emerging technology, City regulation of new technology uses by private entities and by public-private partnerships, consistent with the Ordinance’s core principles.

Developing Emerging Technology Board Operations

The Ordinance gives the Board the power to adopt rules governing its own procedures and meeting schedules, subject to the Ordinance’s core values. In establishing these operations, the Board has established a quarterly meeting schedule and a practice for the Board Chair and Vice Chair to co-develop the agenda in advance. There is an allocation of time in each Board meeting to host discussions with City personnel or by community stakeholders on significant emerging technology decisions[14]. The meeting agendas hosted to date are included in this Report as Appendices K-N.

The Board has established and staffed the following committees to support the Board’s focus areas as outlined in the Ordinance:

Interdepartmental Use of Technology- Identity, foster, and support a system of collaboration among city departments and agencies on significant emerging technology decisions, including procurement decisions

Community Input & Engagement- Regularly seek input, listen, and engage with community stakeholders to inform technology advice and policies and digital inclusion efforts

Private and Public-Private Use of Technology- Understand and support city regulation of new technology uses by private entities and by public-private partnerships

Innovation & Emergent Technology- Consume, prepare, and distribute information that supports the development of policy, processes, and critical thinking as it relates to municipal innovation and emerging technologies.

Each committee includes 3–4 board members and is open for community member participation. The committees have a set meeting schedule and provide a reporting of relevant issues or considerations at Board meetings. The committees function to emphasize the education and partnership opportunities embedded in their respective purposes, and operate as a sounding board and resource to city departments as needed. In doing so, each committee contributes speakers, experts, and assistance prioritizing significant emerging technology decisions and opportunities.

Spring Board Training Retreat

The Board hosted the first Spring Board Training Retreat on April 30, 2022 through Zoom Events. The purpose of the Spring Retreat was to host the Board in order to share a detailed background on the history of emerging technology in the City of Kansas City, deepen Board Member understanding by engaging with subject matter experts, and to support the development of Board priorities.

Spring Training Retreat Materials

Board and community members were given access to the following background materials to review prior to the Retreat:

● A Copy of Ordinance 190838 which outlined and established the Emerging Technology Board attached to this Report as Appendix A.

● The Emerging Technology Board Reading List attached to this Report as Appendix C.

● The proposal developed from the August 15, 2019 workshop held at UMKC to gather feedback and develop a preliminary abstract of a proposal for the City to establish an Emerging Technology Board.

● Retreat agenda and speaker biographies attached to this Report as Appendix D.

● A video by Professor Shannon Jackson of UMKC to accompany the retreat session on Human Centered Design

● Background links for the Panel: Municipal Emerging Technology Policy, a National Perspective, attached as Appendix H.

In addition to the pre-retreat materials, during the retreat, Board and community members were provided with presentation materials, attached to this Report in order of session delivery as Appendix E, F, I, and J.

Retreat Agenda & Session Descriptions

Welcome & Retreat Overview. The retreat began with four brief sets of Introductory Remarks.

Former City of Kansas City, Missouri Chief Innovation Officer Alex Braszko provided a history and evolution of the Emerging Technology Board Development efforts since 2014.

Prof. Tony Luppino of the UMKC School of Law briefly described the history of the Emerging Technology Board efforts, including origins, missions, and work up to the adoption of the resolution creating the Board.

Emerging Technology Board Chair Dr. Adrienne B. Haynes of SEED Law shared an introduction to the Board & Key Stakeholders and the baseline working definitions of Technology, Emerging Technology, and Significant Emerging Technology Decisions. She provided an overview of how the Retreat agenda and technology functions would proceed.

Emerging Technology Board Co-chair Matthew Pjecha of the Ethical AI Initiative, Center for Practical Bioethics reiterated the importance of Board and community members actively engaging and reflecting during the offered sessions.

How Kansas City Engages with Emerging Technology Today. In this session, Kate Bender, former Chief Analytics Officer, and David Evans, Chief Information Officer, General Services Department, Information Technology Division for the City of Kansas City, MO shared a baseline overview of their departments, existing uses of technology, applicable policies, existing priority areas, and areas for innovation.

Human-centered Design. This discussion was hosted by Professor Shannon Jackson, Professor of Anthropology, Sociology and Anthropology Department Chair, Department Advisor, University of Missouri, Kansas City. This session, along with the pre-retreat video materials, addressed the role of myth in framing technological change. Mythical narratives have changed from the 19th century to the present, starting with the introduction of secular and mechanical time-reckoning, moving to linear technological determinism, and then to the present experience of a full disentangling of technology from society. Each mythical frame carries its own logic or way of thinking about change, evidence, and expert-driven discourse. Anthropology, as a discipline, is not immune to mythical assumptions about human evolution, but recent challenges and debates in the field provide useful insight into the relationship between humans and technology based on correspondence rather than transcendence. Similar insights from the field of History of Technology suggest it’s time to look backward rather than forward and address the problem of deferred maintenance.

This offering helped the Board to develop an understanding of human centered design and host a discussion on modes of subsistence and the myth of technological determinism, principles of adaptation, urbanization and technological life support systems.

Municipal Emerging Technology Policy, a National Perspective. This panel was facilitated by Kate Burns, Executive Director, MetroLab Network and Professor Anthony J. Luppino, Rubey M. Hulen Professor of Law and Director of Entrepreneurship Programs, UMKC Law. The intention of this panel was to provide a candid and reflective discussion with experts and colleagues in municipal emerging technology from across the county.

To that end, this panel featured Ginger Armbruster, Chief Privacy Officer, City of Seattle, WA; Michael Pegues, Chief Information Officer and Chair of the Innovation and Technology Commission, Aurora, IL; and Patrick Rivera, Office of Emerging Technology, San Francisco, CA.

The focus of the discussion was around the following primary questions elevated by the Board:

● Why did your city establish such an advisory body?

● How did your city prioritize the top 3–5 topics to focus on?

● To what extent was community input involved in the design and conduct of that body?

● What challenges were presented?

● Lessons learned: what worked well and what would you do differently?

Standardization, Bureaucracy, and Data. This session was facilitated by Emerging Technology Board Co-chair Matthew Pjecha and featured experts Professor Ryan Copus, Associate Professor of Law, UMKC Law and Denise Riedl, Chief Innovation Officer, South Bend, Indiana. The intention of the discussion was to explore the role data plays in emerging technologies and how these technologies are employed to solve problems. It touched on how data collection methods and machine learning methods can affect patterns of governance and decision-making, and how quantification and metrics shape our approaches to problem solving. While these emerging technologies present exciting opportunities, there are important points to consider related to equity, bias, and efficacy.

This presentation considered how changes in information and communication technologies (ICTs), storage, and machine logic affect patterns of governance and decision-making and how the quantification of the metrics impact our framing and problem solving. The discussion also touched on equity in data modeling and the potential dangers in algorithms.

Procurement & Deployment. This session was a discussion hosted by Abigail Eccher, Chief Innovation Officer, City of Lincoln, Nebraska, and Rick Usher, President & CEO, The Usher Garage LLC, retired City Manager, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, City of Kansas City, Missouri. The objective of this session was to reflect on the City of Kansas City’s history with working with private companies and technology adaptation and host a review of how other cities have approached internal management of emerging technologies procurements and deployment. Themes imbedded in the conversation included developing baseline processes for procurement departments, cross-departments communication and collaborations, data handling standards, and regulatory due diligence

Management of Emerging Technology. Expert Richard Kane, Senior Vice President, International Operations at SBA Communications, hosted a session to help Board members apply design thinking to emerging technology scenarios and processes. He presented the three hypothetical scenarios involving uses of Emerging Technology and guided the Board members through a discussion and interactive polls.

Debrief and Closing Remarks. Board Chair Adrienne B. Haynes thanked experts, Board members, and community members for attending and participating in the sessions. Tony Luppino joined in those thank-you remarks and thanked the organizers and Facilitators for the planning and implementation of the Retreat. Adrienne explained that the retreat materials would be available in the shared Drive and that Board members would continue to debrief in the June committee meetings.

The next virtual Board Training Retreat is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, December 10th, 2022.

Key Learnings & Principal Observations

How Kansas City Engages with Emerging Technology Today

This session provided a baseline overview of the DataKC and Information Technology departments, the City’s existing uses of technology, applicable policies, existing priority areas, and areas for innovation.

The DataKC office was established in 2009. The mission of DataKC is to drive continuous innovation and improvement in city government by providing organizational support for data-driven management. The major focus areas of the Office include (1) sharing data and telling data stories, (2) gathering and analyzing data, and (3) supporting departments with data and improvement projects.

The DataKC office often assists in projects involving the procurement, implementation or modification of technology. Finally, the DataKC office works to be involved in discussions and investments in technology infrastructure, which is necessary to support sustainable use of data.

DataKC’s priorities include (1) supporting current enterprise systems, (2) improving cybersecurity and protecting the City, and (3) supporting lifecycle replacements. The challenges that the office faces include (1) severely overstretched resources, (2) IT governance, and (3) technology lifecycle/retention planning (due to decentralization of some acquired technology). Finally, the ongoing priority and challenge is the ongoing and growing demand from departments and residents for more and better technology solutions.

As a Board, we can support Data KC through their primary focus areas: sharing data and telling data stories, gathering and analyzing data, and supporting departments with data and improvement projects.

A centralized IT system supports a “one city approach” to technology management, procurement, governance, and innovation. To implement this system, it requires a technology inventory process and clear procurement guidelines. In a centralized system, IT supports each department, which minimizes cybersecurity risks and is easier to insure. To do this well, IT departments must be well staffed and well funded. In a decentralized IT system, each city department manages their own IT support. This results in a lost opportunity for IT governance and an increased risk of cybersecurity threats.

The City of Kansas City, Missouri currently has 300 applications in use today and the Information Technology Division is responsible for the oversight of all technology. The City has implemented high level technology innovations as enterprise systems, and some departments have also implemented department-specific technologies.

The following chart shows where technology innovation currently exists in Kansas City, and an overview of the partners providing products, services, and innovative solutions was shared.

Technology Innovation

Automation

Artificial Intelligence

Communication

· Mobile Vehicle Location Services

· Snow Removal Mapping

· Employee Driving Enforcement (Dash Cams)

· Data Center Management

· Fleet Vehicle Fueling

· Smart Street Lighting

· Automated Parking Control & Enforcement

· Fleet Checkout Services

· Automated Meter Reading

· Traffic Control

Streetcar Systems

· Automated Scheduling

· Ridership Tracking

Building Automation

· Access Control

· Lighting Automation

· Temperature Automation

· Elevator Automation

Automated Cybersecurity Protection

· Intrusion Detection and Prevention

· System Vulnerability Patching

· Facial Recognition

· Gun Fire Locating Services

· License Plate Readers

· Streetcar Pathway Protection

· Pedestrian Tracking

Automatic Call Handling

· BOT — Call Center Automation

· Interactive Voice Response

· Voice Billing & Payment

· Community Video Surveillance Partnerships

· Mass Notification Services

Airport

· Digital Signage

· Flight Information Displays

Drones

· Public Safety

· Emergency Management

· Project Management

· Public Safety Communications

· Voice Prioritization Services

· Event Management

· Video Surveillance

· Digital Signature collection and Document Distribution and Retention

Public Wireless Access

· KC Streetcar Line

· KC Live

· The Downtown Entertainment District

· Several KC Parks

· KCMO Tow Lot

· Council District 3

· All Community Centers

In 2021, City Manager Brian Platt recommended a shift towards a centralized IT system and the City’s Information Technology Division is currently in the early stages of making the transition.

Human-centered Design

The City of Kansas City, through our establishing ordinance, “has embraced human-centered uses of emerging technology, inter-connectivity, and efficient, data­ driven governance and decision making to improve the delivery of public services and the well-being of residents and visitors[15].”

This session provided an overview and history of human centered design, key definitions, and the roles of myth and urbanization in technology. Technology is an ever-changing field. Human centered design can help ensure that the Emerging Technology Board and the City of Kansas City will keep residents and visitors at the center of both the object of design and the design process for significant emerging technology decisions. This approach invites us to ask: how can we ensure that all citizens, including those on the margins, can not only benefit from the implementation of the technology but participate meaningfully in its design process?

The International Organization of Standards defines “human-centered design [as] an approach to interactive systems that aims to make systems usable and useful by focusing on the users, their needs and requirements, and by applying human factors/ergonomics, and usability knowledge and techniques. This approach enhances effectiveness and efficiency, improves human well-being, user satisfaction, accessibility and sustainability; and counteracts possible adverse effects of use on human health, safety and performance.”[16]

By incorporating human centered design in our work of the Emerging Technology Board, we can humanize our design process and be more at ease with an ongoing, iterative process to review and support significant emerging technology decisions. This will be vital to the development and sustainability of the Board’s Community Working Group, to our emerging framework to consider and analyze significant emerging technology decisions, through to tracking the lifecycles of existing and emerging technologies.

Through the Community Working Group, the Board will hold space for ongoing community input, feedback, ideation, and collaboration with City staff members. In these interactions, there will be space for “significant emerging technology decisions [to] be brought before it by City personnel or by community stakeholders[17]” and support for salutary failure. This is when individual and collective failure is made safe or harmless so it can contribute to iterative learning and brainstorming. Common methods for this include pilot programs, prototypes, apprenticeships, charettes, and situated learning exercises to operationalize the principles of human centered design.

As we develop the framework to consider and analyze significant emerging technology decisions, the relationship with community members and City staff, and their engagement and experimentation will allow us to predict and work around any negative or “adverse effects of [the technology’s] use on human health, safety and performance[18]”. Professor Jackson spoke about the myth of progress and the myth that technology will necessarily lead to improvement in society. It will be essential in the Board’s evaluation of technology to be aware of the important long-range factors to consider the impact a given technology might have on humanity over time and not just time savings, ease of use, cost, implementation, management, security, and privacy.

Municipal Emerging Technology Policy, a National Perspective

The City of Kansas City, Missouri is the third fastest growing technology market in the nation[19]. This session allowed us to host experts from San Francisco, California, Aurora, Illinois, and Seattle, Washington to hear their best practices and lessons learned in developing emerging technology policy. The key insights and learnings from this session involved developing a “one city approach” to IT prioritization, procurement, governance and ongoing community engagement.

Internally, the Emerging Technology Board can provide support for the City’s IT consolidation efforts and provide a streamlined process to direct proposals. By collaborating with the Information Technology Division, the Board can help acknowledge and minimize the tension of consolidation. With a consolidated IT department, it is easier to implement a centralized budget, policies on procurement of services or solutions, and a portfolio management system. For this transition to be successful, it will take funding, staffing, and clear direction for the General Services department.

Externally, the two primary ways for the community to connect to the City’s emerging technology work can be through the Board and through an easily accessible “front door” website. For the “front door” website, this can be designed as a first stop for community members and interested businesses who want to research or contribute to emerging technology policies or participate in procurement opportunities. The City of Seattle has an Open Data Portal[20] that shares data, public records, data compliance, data governance, privacy policies, and other open records. For Kansas City, this Front Door website could function as an interactive site for City history, Board and Community Working Group updates, and other information, as well as receiving communications from residents and organizations. This website can also help filter and qualify innovative proposals, procurement opportunities, and public private partnership opportunities.

To develop municipal emerging technology policy that benefits residents and visitors, there must be ongoing communication and relationship with community members. One common way to host this engagement is through community designed and led working groups. In developing the Community Working Group efforts for the Board, our experts advised that we begin with a clear purpose, shared vocabulary and common language, and a well researched framework through which to consider emerging technology decisions. San Francisco’s efforts and outcomes from their Open Working Group were documented in a 51-page report which led to the formation of the San Francisco Office of Emerging Technology. Other best practices shared included casting a wide and continuous net for community input and engagement, hosting lunch and learns, and having a budget to sustain the efforts.

Standardization, Bureaucracy, and Data

Emerging data-driven technology solutions, like machine learning artificial intelligence (AI) and other algorithms, present new opportunities to leverage passive data collection systems and other data sources, generating powerful predictive and analytical tools that could be employed by the City of Kansas City. Professor Ryan Copus highlighted how these systems can aid in standardizing decision-making, support oversight, and extend other capacities of human workers. Such systems can be fast and consistent, provided they are implemented and used correctly.

Denise Riedl supplemented these insights with her experiences deploying an AI solution for the purposes of automatically rating road quality for the purposes of road maintenance and repair in the city of South Bend, IL. She focused on three important questions for framing the evaluation of these solutions:

  1. Does this system provide operational ease?
  2. Are we using the system appropriately?
  3. How do the outcomes compare to the status quo operations?

In her example, they found that the solution was not actually saving time compared to manual evaluation of road quality. These questions and the example illustrate the fact that these solutions cannot be considered a simple value-add to existing operations. They can be difficult to use and typically require a degree of dedicated oversight. Careful planning and a willingness to engage in retroactive evaluation are important prerequisites for success when implementing AI systems.

Algorithmic bias and the potential for AI systems to deepen existing societal inequities should also be taken into account when considering adoption and implementation of these solutions. Machine learning algorithms can reproduce biases present in the data used to train them, which can present risks, especially to historically marginalized populations. This can be challenging to address as simply removing variables like race, ethnicity, or gender from consideration can potentially worsen this reproduction of bias, instead of eliminating it.

AI and other data-driven systems can be used to automate time consuming processes, but automation does not necessarily lead to gains in operational efficiency or efficacy. Implementation of new AI and data-driven solutions can be done in parallel with status quo operations to evaluate the benefits and maintain a safe and effective alternative if unforeseen side effects emerge. Where possible, it is best to use data closely associated with the problem or process being addressed by a new system (ie: use data about road quality if road quality is the problem being addressed by a new system). Proxy variables can be carefully selected where specific data is not available, but proxy variables are a common cause of unforeseen side effects. Passive data gathering, while potentially providing useful insights, should also be understood as a potential privacy liability when it involves data gathered from residents and visitors.

Procurement & Deployment

The Emerging Technology Board’s establishing ordinance advises that “City government should adhere to the following “core principles” to guide its procurements and deployments of new technologies, negotiation of related public-private partnerships, and well-balanced regulation of and interactions with emerging technology-based businesses:

(i) The City should seek to ensure that (a) City air, water, land, food, and affordable housing are of sufficiently high quality and accessibility so all individuals in our communities can have healthy, fulfilling, and dignified lives; (b) public commons and privacy rights of individuals are protected; and © there are equitable opportunities for education, life-long learning, health and wellness, and economic prosperity for all residents; and

(ii) The City should employ existing mechanisms, and where necessary or appropriate, develop new mechanisms to gather well-informed, timely, diverse, and meaningful input from subject matter experts, residents, and other stakeholders in deliberations on emerging technology matters

involving significant decisions affecting residents’ and visitors’ individual rights, equitable outcomes, governmental accountability, transparency, and responsiveness (“Significant Emerging Technology Decisions”)[21].

This session allowed us an opportunity to hear from a City of Kansas City expert and former employee as well as a regional expert on procurement and deployment of emerging technologies. Whether it’s technology the city commissions or technology opportunity that is presented to the city, key insights shared included having clear relationship and data sharing agreements in public-private partnerships and a technology procurement and regulatory due diligence process that allows for community input, thorough review, experimentation, and ongoing interdepartmental communication[22]. Factors included in this review can include performance reviews of integrated technology in order to assess utility, life, maintenance costs, ability to support multiple departments, and any available and/or necessary innovations. Our experts advise that this framework be developed in partnership with the procurement office and apply to all proposals relating to significant emerging technology decisions.

Management of Emerging Technology

The Emerging Technology Board was designed to make space to develop and leverage relationships and expertise from local business and industry, local educational and research institutions, and the community at large to provide City officials with well-informed, timely, diverse and meaningful input on significant emerging technology decisions. To do this well, the Board should prioritize the development of an evaluation and community listening process that incorporates human centered design and the significant investment in time and people needed to accomplish our charge.

This session allowed us to work through hypothetical scenarios using polls and begin to outline a framework from which to assess the impact on the City of Kansas City. In the three scenarios presented by facilitator Rich Cane (on homeless, connectivity, and low cost housing), a series of qualifying questions were used to bifurcate whether the Board should take on the issue, as follows:

1. What questions would the Board ask to better understand and assess the scenario?

2. Which City departments should be engaged to assess this scenario?

3. Where would the Board look for subject matter expertise to assess the scenario?

4. How would the Board solicit community input?

5. How does Human-centered Design factor into the Board’s response?

By working through a high-level framework for qualifying and assessing significant emerging technology decisions during the retreat, the Board and the City of Kansas City is better equipped to “[use] emerging technology [to] advance achievement of goals relating to health care, education, quality of life and climate, safe environments, the creation of opportunities for innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic development, and other goals identified in City planning.[23]

Establishing the ETB Community Working Group

Prior to the formation of the Emerging Technology Board, community participation and engagement was important to the City’s smart city efforts and emerging technology decision making. Under Chief Innovation Officer Bob Bennett, a group of community leaders was convened to respond to a federal bid opportunity for funding to support smart city initiatives. More than 200 participants, comprised of city staff, public servants, regional stakeholders, universities, community groups, and neighborhood and business associations, contributed to a federal bid to support the early smart city initiatives[24].

Under Chief Innovation Officer Alex Braszko, the August 2019 workshop hosted at UMKC engaged more than 50 participants for a half day workshop to provide recommendations to the City on the purpose, scope, and membership of the Board, as well as input on core principles, and ways to engage community leaders. Participants included community members from various KCMO neighborhoods, several of whom are neighborhood association leaders; City of KCMO staff members from various departments/functions; staff from Kansas City, Kansas/Unified Government of Wyandotte County; representatives of for-profit and nonprofit technology, business, and other organizations; entrepreneurs and faculty and staff from UMKC and other universities, in the region interested in policy and planning implications of City interactions with technology.

When the Emerging Technology Board first convened, engaging the community was an initial priority. In developing the Board’s structure, a Community Working Group structure was also outlined. The purpose of this collective is to regularly participate in Board meetings and educational opportunities, as well as providing valuable community-driven feedback on significant emerging technology decisions. The Board reached out to the participants of the August 2019 workshop and other community leaders with an invite to participate on the ETB Community Working Group. More than 100 invitations were sent out, and announcements made at various community meetings, including at the KC Coalition for Digital Inclusion monthly meeting. At the time of report submission, the Community Working Group has more than 50 interested volunteers.

To best honor the time, investment, and input of participating community members, the Board will provide training on the Board’s history, research, and frameworks and make specific invitations to volunteers:

• Attend quarterly Board meetings and bi-annual Board Training Retreats.

• Participate in Community Working Group meetings with City Staff to review and discuss significant emerging technology decisions and proposals.

• Collaborate with the Board’s Community Input & Engagement committee to host an interactive session during each of the bi-annual Board Training Retreats.

• Recruit community partners to participate and share feedback related to significant emerging technology decisions.

• Share feedback for the Board’s assessment framework for significant emerging technology decisions.

This level of engagement ensures that significant emerging technology decisions and Board recommendations continue to be considered in partnership with and informed by the community.

Fostering Interdepartmental Communication

The Emerging Technology Board was charged with fostering a system of collaboration among City departments and agencies on significant emerging technology decisions. In pursuing this charge, the Board has prioritized interdepartmental outreach and relationship development and developing a baseline analysis of the City’s existing uses of technology and the exploration of emerging technologies.

The Ordinance provides that, as way to develop advice and recommendations on each significant emerging technology decision, the Board can suggest collaborations among and information gathering from City departments as the Board Chair deems relevant to any decision[25]. In collaboration with the City’s Information Technology Division, the Board has developed a survey to provide a benchmark on how City departments use technology and an exploration of the department’s considerations of emerging technologies. Our goal from this exploration is three-fold: to conduct a review of areas for inter-departmental overlap/collaboration, to uncover existing best practices from City departments, and to provide a baseline analysis for the City to establish priorities. The survey is attached as Appendix G.

Participation by Board appointed City staff members is imperative to the short and long-term viability of both Board and community member efforts. As ex-officio members and internal experts, they provide a valuable perspective and insight into successes and opportunities for improvement across substantially all City departments and agencies[26]. This engagement has been vital in making interdepartmental introductions to applicable City decision makers and will be equally important in our efforts to develop and provide value through the Community Working Group.

Providing City decision makers with timely, diverse, and meaningful input

Providing timely, diverse, and meaningful input to applicable City decision makers is a key priority for the Emerging Technology Board.

The Board aims to do this by (1) engaging in ongoing training from local and national subject matter experts, including the relevant expertise areas specifically outlined in the Ordinance, which included business management, cybersecurity, data sharing agreements, efficiency/business processes, engineering and the science of emerging technologies, ethics, finance, government administration, laws pertaining to information and privacy, political science, transparency and plain language, and technology contracts, both hardware and software, (2) consuming research and continuing education from a diverse network, as shown through the Board reading list included as Appendix C (3) establish and develop the Community Working Group as described above, and (4) regularly host and learn from national experts in municipal emerging technologies.

By being well-researched, community informed and with strong relationships to each City department, the Board can fulfill its charge of providing timely, diverse, and meaningful input to applicable City decision makers.

Costs Incurred

As the third fastest growing technology market in the country, the City of Kansas City must adequately fund efforts to continue this leadership and support our City’s growth. The Ordinance authorizes funding for this effort in Section 6: “The City shall provide the Board with funding, and staff support, as the City Manager deems reasonable and appropriate to carry out its functions as contemplated by this Resolution.”[27]

At this time, the Board has not yet been allocated a budget so no direct costs have been incurred. The in-kind support of the Board’s efforts has been approximately $10,000 in hosting our first Board Training Retreat. To fully operationalize the Board’s efforts, the Board requests an operating budget of at least $50,000. This budget would support the Board training and education for one two-year term, community engagement initiatives and monthly meetings, educational materials, and City department survey deployment and engagement efforts.

The Board also acknowledges the practices of our counterparts in Portland, Oregon and other municipalities who provide financial compensation to volunteers in their Community Working Group as a way to provide adequate value for their time and contributions. In the future, the Board would like to include this type of compensation in our annual budget requests.

Recommendations for the City of Kansas City, Missouri

As the main driver behind the City’s tech-forward pursuits,the Emerging Technology Board offers the following recommendations to the City of Kansas City. These recommendations were developed based on the shared expertise and partnership with community stakeholders and national experts.

1. Establish an online “Front Door” for communication of the City’s Emerging Technology efforts.

To facilitate internal and external technology related communications, proposals, and research compilation, as well as the processes to support the rhythmic and iterative nature of innovation, the Board recommends the creation of a “Front Door” website for the City of Kansas City’s emerging technology efforts. This website will service as both an information portal and the pipeline for the Board’s process for qualifying significant emerging technology opportunities.

● As the Emerging Technology Board begins to foster a system of collaboration among City departments and agencies on significant emerging technology decisions[28], a cohesive online presence will be important for internal and external technology related communications.

● The Emerging Technology Board is working with the Community Working Group and City departments to develop a clear process for receiving and qualifying proposals on disruptive business models by developing a consistent framework that adheres to the Ordinance’s core principles in advising City decision makers on City interactions with emerging technologies.

● As the third fastest growing technology market in the country, it is imperative that we have a strong online presence that mirrors our national standing, is interactive, and communicates our efforts in real time.

ACTIONS:

● Work with City Manager’s Office, KCBizCare Office, and General Services Department Information Technology and Procurement Division to develop a “front door” online portal

● Work with City Manager’s Office, KCBizCare Office, and General Services Department Information Technology and Procurement Division to develop an evaluation and qualifying process for proposals and other applications submitted across the “front door” online portal.

● Work with Community Communications, DataKC and the Neighborhoods department to create content for the “front door” online portal and help share this resource with residents and visitors.

2. Support the shift from decentralized to centralized IT governance with clear policies and adequate funding.

As the City of Kansas City moves from a decentralized to a centralized IT model, the Emerging Technology Board recommends establishing inventory processes, governance models, and staffing capacity that will support the goals of improving cybersecurity and lifecycle management of current enterprise systems.

● Having a centralized IT system supports a “one city approach” to technology management, procurement, governance, and innovation. In a centralized system, IT supports each department, which minimizes cybersecurity risks and is easier to insure. To do this well, an IT department must be well staffed and well funded.

● The Emerging Technology Board is working with the General Services Department Information Technology Division to develop and distribute a department-level technology survey to gather summary information about software solutions currently in use and processes associated with their management.

● The Board is working with experts across the county that have experience in change management, developing municipal technology policy, centralizing IT departments, and portfolio management systems.

ACTIONS:

● Work with the City Manager and General Services Department Information Technology Division to outline a timeline to centralize oversight, support, and procurement policies for IT management and governance.

● Work with the General Services Department Information Technology Division to review, reestablish, and reaffirm IT existing governance policies.

● Work with City Manager’s Office and Data KC to establish a process for expeditious reporting, review, and synthesis of data being collected by City departments and divisions.

● Work with the City Manager, General Services Department Information Technology Division, and the Finance Department to review current IT staffing and increase personnel to manage the transition, additional oversight and support the increased workload.

3. Provide the Board with funding and staff support, as described in the Ordinance.

The Ordinance states that the City shall provide the Board with funding and staff support, as the City Manager deems reasonable and appropriate to carry out its functions. The annual budget requested by the Board is $50,000 to support operations, training, community engagement, and ongoing research.

● As the third fastest growing technology market in the country, the City of Kansas City must adequately fund efforts to continue this leadership and support our City’s growth.

● For the Board to be successful in its three part charge to (i) foster a system of collaboration among City departments and agencies on significant emerging technology decisions; (ii) provide City decision makers with well-informed advice on significant emerging technology decisions involving City uses of emerging technology, City regulation of new technology uses by private entities and by public-private partnerships, consistent with the core principles set forth above; and (iii) regularly engaging community stakeholders to help inform such advice, there must be funding to support our efforts.

● To fully operationalize the Board’s efforts, the requested operating budget will support the Ordinance required Board training and education for one two-year term, community engagement initiatives and monthly meetings, educational materials, and City department survey deployment and engagement efforts.

ACTIONS:

● Work with the City Manager’s Office and the Finance Department to evaluate the suggested budgetary and staffing needs and allocate funds and personnel to support Emerging Technology Board activities.

4. Support the Emerging Technology Board by designating City staff to participate in the ETB Community Working Group.

The purpose of the Community Working Group is to participate in Board meetings, engage in research, and support the evaluation of emerging technologies through regular convenings and a framework that mirrors the core principles in the Ordinance. The Ordinance provides that, as way to develop advice and recommendations on each significant emerging technology decision, the Board can suggest collaborations among and information gathering from City departments as the Board Chair deems relevant to any decision[29].

● The ETB Community Working Group provides a clear process for receiving and reviewing unsolicited proposals from technology companies.

● By including representatives from each department, the Board is able to make space for community engagement and feedback while also facilitating interdepartmental communication with respect to significant emerging technology decisions.

● This departmental engagement would allow the board to pursue its ongoing charge of interdepartmental communication alongside its charging of intentional community engagement.

ACTIONS:

● Work with the City Manager’s Office and leaders from each of the City’s departments to designate at least one representative per department to participate in the ETB Community Working Group.

● Work with the City Communications Office to develop clear messaging and content for the ETB Community Working Group.

5. Prioritize digital equity and inclusion with respect to data management and algorithm implementation, ensuring that the full diversity of residents and visitors are considered.

As the City of Kansas City uses and considers the adoption of emerging data-driven solutions like artificial intelligence systems and other algorithms, it is imperative that special care be taken to prevent and reduce the digital reproduction of systemic biases that can perpetuate and deepen societal inequities. AI solutions can be powerful tools for providing prediction, automating processes, and supporting decision-making, but their safe deployment demands careful planning and systematic evaluation.

● As new technologies emerge, the City of Kansas City must be aware of the new challenges and risks of adverse impacts on individual rights, the public commons, and governmental services and processes that can come from emerging technology experiments and deployments by the City, by businesses seeking to operate in the City, and by public­ private partnerships and be prepared to assess and address with diligence, care, transparency and accountability.[30]

● Decentralized decision-making systems (ex: permit application review, call centers) face tradeoffs between standards and rules. Individual decision-makers often fail to apply a single standard uniformly and rules applied to these processes tend to be overly or insufficiently permissive, leading to failures in responding to edge cases. Artificial Intelligence and other algorithm-based systems can provide helpful support in decentralized decision-making, responding to complex combinations of variables in ways that improve outcomes.

● Operationalizing human centered design principles can ensure that the new AI technology deployments respect the dignity and wellbeing of residents and visitors.

ACTIONS:

● Work with the City Manager’s Office and DataKC to do an assessment of what existing algorithm-based solutions are currently in use, what digital equity measures are in place, and a disparity study to ensure no residents or visitors are subject to prejudice by the existing and emerging use of technology.

● Work with the City Manager’s Office to support existing digital equity efforts and promote open data policies.

● Work with the General Services Procurement Division to develop and apply a framework to prevent and reduce coded inequity and systemic bias in the technology that the City commissions.

● Work with the General Services Information Technology Division and Police Department to include community feedback and engagement in complex decisions involving emerging technology such as drones, surveillance, facial recognition, pedestrian tracking, and gun fire locating services.

[1] “KC Tech Specs V4.” KC Tech Council, June 3, 2021. https://www.kctechcouncil.com/kc-tech-specs-v4/.

[2] Mandelbaum, Donna. “$351M KC Streetcar Expansion Officially Breaks Ground.” KC Streetcar Authority, April 6, 2022. https://kcstreetcar.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/KC-Streetcar_MSEGB_04062022Final.pdf.

[3] Friestad, Thomas. “Meta Confirms Status as Golden Plains’ First Data Center Tenant.” Kansas City Business Journal, March 24, 2022. https://www.bizjournals.com/kansascity/news/2022/03/24/meta-facebook-hyperscale-data-center-social-media.html.

[4] CITY OF KANSAS CITY, MO., Ordinance 190838 (October 27, 2019)

[5] Milo Medin, “Google Fiber Blog: Everything’s up to Date in Kansas City,” Fiber Blog, May 17, 2011, https://fiber.googleblog.com/2011/05/everythings-up-to-date-in-kansas-city.html.

[6] “KC Digital Drive: KC Digital Roadmap,” February 20, 2015, https://www.kcdigitaldrive.org/project/kc-digital-roadmap/.

[7] “InnovateKC.” Programs & Initiatives: KC BizCare. Accessed July 31, 2022. https://www.kcmo.gov/programs-initiatives/kc-bizcare/innovate-kc.

[8] “KC Digital Drive: KC Digital Roadmap,” February 20, 2015, https://www.kcdigitaldrive.org/project/kc-digital-roadmap/.

[9] Knell, Noelle. “Kansas City Innovation Chief Bob Bennett Announces Departure.” Government Technology magazine. e.Republic, March 12, 2019. https://www.kcmo.gov/programs-initiatives/kc-bizcare/innovate-kc.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] “https://Www.kcmo.gov/Programs-Initiatives/Emerging-Technology.” Programs & Initiatives. Accessed July 31, 2022. https://www.kcmo.gov/programs-initiatives/emerging-technology.

[13] CITY OF KANSAS CITY, MO., Ordinance 190838, §1 (October 27, 2019).

[14] CITY OF KANSAS CITY, MO., Ordinance 190838, §5(c) (October 27, 2019).

[15] CITY OF KANSAS CITY, MO., Ordinance 190838 (October 27, 2019).

[16] “Human Centered Design (HCD).” NIST, May 3, 2021. https://www.nist.gov/itl/iad/visualization-and-usability-group/human-factors-human-centered-design#:~:text=According%20to%20ISO%209241%2D210,and%20usability%20knowledge%20and%20techniques.

[17] CITY OF KANSAS CITY, MO., Ordinance 190838, §5(c) (October 27, 2019).

[18] “Human Centered Design (HCD).” NIST, May 3, 2021. https://www.nist.gov/itl/iad/visualization-and-usability-group/human-factors-human-centered-design#:~:text=According%20to%20ISO%209241%2D210,and%20usability%20knowledge%20and%20techniques.

[19] “KC Tech Specs V4.” KC Tech Council, June 3, 2021. https://www.kctechcouncil.com/kc-tech-specs-v4/.

[20] “City of Seattle Open Data Portal.” City of Seattle. Accessed July 31, 2022. https://data.seattle.gov/.

[21]CITY OF KANSAS CITY, MO., Ordinance 190838 (October 27, 2019).

[22] Usher, Rick. “Emerging Technologies & Disruptive Business Models: Balancing Policy and Technology in Kansas City.” LinkedIn, October 19, 2018. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/emerging-technologies-disruptive-business-models-balancing-rick-usher/.

[23] CITY OF KANSAS CITY, MO., Ordinance 190838 (October 27, 2019).

[24] Knell, Noelle. “Kansas City Innovation Chief Bob Bennett Announces Departure.” Government Technology magazine. e.Republic, March 12, 2019. https://www.kcmo.gov/programs-initiatives/kc-bizcare/innovate-kc.

[25] CITY OF KANSAS CITY, MO., Ordinance 190838, §5(b) (October 27, 2019).

[26] CITY OF KANSAS CITY, MO., Ordinance 190838, §2 (October 27, 2019).

[27] CITY OF KANSAS CITY, MO., Ordinance 190838, §6 (October 27, 2019).

[28] CITY OF KANSAS CITY, MO., Ordinance 190838 (October 27, 2019).

[29] CITY OF KANSAS CITY, MO., Ordinance 190838, §5(b) (October 27, 2019).

[30] CITY OF KANSAS CITY, MO., Ordinance 190838 (October 27, 2019).

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Adrienne B. Haynes

My name is Adrienne B. Haynes and I focus my time, talents, and treasures on the intersection of law, entrepreneurship, and community designed innovation.