• The City of Columbus received one of seven Smart Cities grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
  • Smart City Columbus needed to gather focused input from a wide variety of constituents and potential partners to fulfill the grant.
  • Goal: Explore how data can be used to improve the efficiency of community transportation, energy, and technology initiatives.
  • A major part of that work involved developing an operating system to serve as the core of the project, collecting and storing numerous, unrelated data sets and enabling easy access for data-informed decision making.


  • Facilitated the ideation sessions to generate possibilities for operating system functions and capabilities
  • Consulted community members, entrepreneurs, public agencies, private companies, and nonprofits
    • Identified and understood those organizations’ goals and needs
    • Informed the development team, enabling them to build a user-friendly operating system (Pro Bono)


  • Generated numerous use cases, possible users lists, and data sources to be used in testing
  • The operating system is serving the community with the first applications, and more are being developed as a result of our work.


“Smart Columbus coordinates technical working groups to research, solve problems, and innovate. I seek out volunteer leaders to guide the working groups to ensure they feel valued and they are driving to outcomes. After meeting Melissa and learning about her approach and passion, I was thrilled to learn she was willing to volunteer her skills and time to help lead a technical working group. She had no hesitation and jumped in to learn the needs and objectives. Melissa’s style brought a wonderful, grounded approach to preparation and facilitation of ideation sessions. She was excellent at asking questions to clarify and evolve ideas. She connected quickly with the group and always ensured that sessions were well prepared and focused on outcomes. After sessions, she helped to synthesize discussions into meaningful outputs that were used to inform the team’s research. Working with Melissa was a pleasure, and I am sure we will work together again in the future.”
– Tammy Chellis, Executive Consultant, Accenture

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