Events, TEDxColumbus

Meet the Speakers: Doug McCollough

On Friday, November 16, 2018, fourteen Columbus area residents will become part of the TEDxColumbus community when they present their talks for On the Edge.


Meet the Speaker: Doug McCollough

Augmented reality & driverless cars … and the city of Dublin’s just getting started

by: Cheryl Forcina


The Columbus suburb has a growing reputation as a mecca for tech-driven businesses. And this “smart city’s” head innovation guy wants to make sure Dublin’s status stays that way.


In summer 2016, the debut of mobile game Pokemon Go brought location-based augmented reality to the masses.


Now imagine using that same technology as you navigate your way around Dublin, Ohio.


But instead of trying to capture Pikachu, Eevee and the hundreds of creatures that populate the Pokemon world, you’re simply on the hunt for lunch.


That’s just one of many uses for the digital wayfinding system set to hit Dublin’s Bridge Park neighborhood in the next few months, said Doug McCollough, the city of Dublin’s CIO.


“It’s like engaging with a concierge service—you’ll get that level of convenience,” McCollough explained. “You use your phone and animation to get directions by using a symbol versus a sign.”


McCollough heads up technological and digital initiatives for a city that a think tank ranked No. 7 in the world’s top intelligent communities in 2010—and its reputation as an innovator is only growing, thanks to other efforts, like the driverless cars being tested on a stretch of Route 33. Not bad for a suburb outside Silicon Valley. “(The city of Dublin) definitely serves as a benchmark,” McCollough said.


It was a detail the Michigan native couldn’t ignore when the city tapped him to be chief information officer in 2015. Of course, his grinding commute between Columbus where his family lives and his job at the time—in Virginia as the city of Richmond’s IT director—helped with his decision, too.


“We were waiting to all relocate (to Richmond), but Dublin called before I could find a home there for my family,” he recalled.


Along with McCollough’s experience and self-professed fascination with his field, the city of Dublin also gained an advocate. Particularly when it comes to casting the widest net possible in tech talent searches.


“One of the strongest dichotomies we have is the lack of diversity,” he said. “A lot of people don’t have access to these jobs or to promotion.”


McCollough points to black tech professionals. “If you’re African-American and entry level, you may be very alone,” he said. “Companies just don’t know how to support them.”


To that end, McCollough has lent his voice to issues like inclusion, workforce development and opportunities for women in technology.


“Companies should make diversity a priority, if for no other reason, than to give them a competitive edge,” he said. “These are companies that have huge amounts of money. They need to use the resources who are out there.”


The city of Dublin’s Chief Information Officer Doug McCollough has spoken on the topics of diversity, inclusion, career advancement and using technology for economic and community development. A graduate of the University of Toledo and the University of Notre Dame, McCollough is chair of the planning committee for the 2018 CIO Tomorrow Conference. His diverse passions include jazz (he was a trained musician), artificial intelligence, automation, bots and the social implications these technologies bring with them.