Aaron Deacon is the founder and managing director of KC Digital Drive, a nonprofit civic organization with a mission to make Kansas City a digital leader and help cities adapt to disruptive technology change. He works with mayors, entrepreneurs and civic leaders in Kansas City and around the world to help build ecosystems that connect infrastructure, emerging technology and social impact. He combines a high-level strategic approach with boots-on-the-ground project implementation and management in smart cities, civic tech, digital inclusion, digital health, and education.
Through KC Digital Drive, Aaron helps to lead the Code for KC Brigade, the Health Innovation Team, and the KC Coalition for Digital Inclusion. Aaron is a founder and producer of the Gigabit City Summit, an annual conference on how cities build value on technology infrastructure. He also leads Kansas City’s participation in a number of global initiatives including US Ignite, NIST’s Global City Teams Challenge, the IEEE Smart City Initiative and the MetroLab Network.
Aaron’s work in cities and technology began as an instrumental leader in helping Kansas City prepare to be the first market for Google Fiber. He created and led a variety of community engagement initiatives around broadband deployment, including Building the Gigabit City and Give Us a Gig. He continues to help cities develop community playbooks to take advantage of ultra high-speed broadband.
Prior to working in the civic sphere, Aaron honed his skills in innovation management, design thinking product development, strategic planning and qualitative and quantitative research as a consultant and project director for a variety of Fortune 500 clients. He is the founder and principal of the research and strategic planning firm Curiolab. He earned a master’s degree in social science from the University of Chicago and a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Dallas, and taught high school Latin for two years in between.