"11 Moonshot Ideas to Move the Region Forward" is a collaboration of the Future 50 class of 2020 as they reimagine education, urban design, science, data and technology, gender equity, civic discourse and more.

When I heard the idea to turn an issue of this magazine over to a group of Columbus innovators, the teenager in me loved it immediately. Let a group of super smart, interesting people do my job for me for a month? Don’t mind if I do.

But the experience co-creating this special issue, "11 Moonshot Ideas to Move the Region Forward," has been meaningful well beyond getting out of having to come up with an idea for the October feature story. It’s been a chance to spend time better getting to know the Future 50 class of 2020—a collection of some of the most incredible, caring people I have come across in my career.

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Through many phone calls and Zoom happy hour brainstorms that involved about 25 people, I had the fortune to soak up this group’s desire to use their creativity and their voices to make life in the Columbus region better for all of us, no matter what ZIP code we live in. The 11 writers and the leaders of this effort—Smart Columbus Director Jordan Davis, who came up with the idea for this “Moonshot Magazine”; Storyforge founder Haley Boehning; COSI VP Stephen White; and Improving-Columbus VP Jacquie Bickel—deserve a giant round of applause for conceiving of this project and for the many hours of work they put into it.

This issue represents a significant effort, not the least of which was the collaboration Art Director Yogesh Chaudhary did with a nationally recognized cartoonist and illustrator in India, Manjul, who stayed up late nights at his desk in Mumbai making the drawings that bring a wonderful energy and creativity to these pieces.

Indeed, multiple rewrites, collaboration and plenty of consultation with outside sources went into this project. For their piece on police-community relations, for example, John Rush, Kierra Williams and Molly Rampe Thomas did 20 interviews, including going on police ride-alongs and talking to elected officials and people from the activist community.

The product of all that work is an engaging journey of thought leadership on some of the most pressing issues of this singular year—how to boldly reimagine our approaches to education, urban design, science, data and technology, gender equity, civic discourse and more, with an eye toward fighting racism every chance we get.

We’ve got this beautiful chance to make real change. Are we going to take it?

Katy Smith is editor of Columbus CEO.