Solve Atlanta’s challenges with technology.

More than 5000 years ago, mankind invented the nail — one of the earliest technologies to solve problems and make life easier. Today, we hardly think of things as simple as a nail as technology, but the innovation that inspired it and its sheer utility show how the world can be changed with even the simplest of tools.

The rate at which technology changes is amazing. Every day we create new tools, we know more, and we have new abilities for making our lives better. The question we must answer is how can we pull together all of these tools, all of this knowledge, and all of our abilities to solve the problems facing our cities and counties?

The development of the internet and phone applications have revolutionized how people engage. With a device the size of a deck of cards we can, right now, see and talk to someone on the other side of the region, or planet. We can tell companies and governments, and many of their customers and constituents, what we think about a product or action in less than a minute and less than 140 characters. And we can engage with each other in forums and chat rooms and conversations that no longer require us all to be in the same place at the same time.

We know that innovation comes from all over and that the volume and complexity of the challenges we face frequently require more than one person or organization committed to make a difference. We have proven that we are a community of innovators and collaborators, invested in and ready to invest more in new ways of thinking and collaborating.

Can you imagine being able to plan a trip with every option for your journey included in real-time? Or knowing the answer to “What did you do in school today?” without having to probe after the “nothing much” answer given at the bus stop? Or having access to the same information that our region’s leaders do on hot topics like school and voter redistricting without having to go through the filter of a bureaucrat or a news report?

Transportation. Water. Education. Health. Public Safety. Arts and Culture. Entertainment. There are so many opportunities to harness the best of the Atlanta region to solve the challenges we face and elevate the assets we are so lucky to have. We have tools like “SeeClickFix” that enable us to report non-emergency problems like potholes to the City of Atlanta, URUUT for crowdfunding community projects, and to plan our transit trips. What else do we need?

What have you seen that made you think “there has to be a better way” or “technology should be able to help us do this”? What ideas do you have to make life in our region even better? You could, after all, be the one who inspires, or even invents, the next nail.