When Rahm Emanuel took office as Mayor of Chicago in 2011, he asked his constituents for advice. What should he change about Chicago’s notoriously opaque government? How should he balance the budget? Which technologies should he embrace? He would take suggestions on a free, public website so that savvy Chicagoans could track ideas, note which ideas made it into policy, and which ideas were ignored. Citizens made thousands of suggestions. Though most revealed political gripes rather than sound advice — “Fire 25 Aldermen/women [to] save $50 million!” “SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT SHOULD BE WORKING FOR HIS MONEY!!” “Declare Gangs as Terrorists!” — others showed keen-eyed political promise.

Kyle Hillman’s suggestion showed enough promise, in fact, to get the 38-year-old political consultant, community organizer, and actor onto the evening news. It also got him a personal call from the mayor. As it turns out, Hillman’s suggestion wasn’t ground breaking. It actually seemed like a no-brainer — an idea that cities all over the country might like to try.

He suggested that the city should digitize.