Approach

 

We structure our work in two programs: THEMED LABS and CIVICXCEL.

We also develop infrastructure needed to run and scale these programs, with an eye toward new models of civic engagement and expanding the field of civic tech. Infrastructure projects take the form of toolkits, data standards, research, and business model design.

Our strategies:

  • Collaborate with multidisciplinary stakeholders to engage a diverse set of voices and perspectives.

  • Ask questions that uncover nuance, context, and complexity.

  • Demonstrate small, strategic wins to create momentum for larger, systemic change.

  • Employ public-centered design practices and model building with and not for, given the challenges of inequity and misrepresentation when creating solutions for public challenges. We credit and thank civic engagement and community technology expert Laurenellen McCann for her leadership on this issue.

  • Partner with best-in-class designers, data scientists, and developers aligned with our values and open source principles.

  • Test theories and assumptions through iterative pilots and prototypes.

  • Seek to scale successful solutions,replicating with sensitivity to context when scale is not the answer.

  • Assess the economic viability of solutions to design for long-term sustainability.

  • Abide by open source principles and support open data.

 
 

THEMED LABS

Through multidisciplinary collaboration, each Lab creates and tests digital tools that advance solutions to public challenges in arenas like criminal justice, health, urban infrastructure, education, civil liberties, and economic development. Through our Labs, we seek to design and deploy technology for the public, while expanding the impact of civic tech, and modeling civic participation for the 21st century.

Lab Methodology: 

Current Labs in development include:

  • Health Lab
    Through an interdisciplinary approach, we are shifting from the mainstream notion of health as disease management into the broader notion of the civic and social health of our society. In our Lab we catalyze innovations that address the civic roots of health disparities: improving public health by working toward a healthy public.

CIVICXCEL

Harnessing the ingenuity of citizens and the power of technology in service of government and our public well-being, the CivicXcel is a community-sourced innovation platform that works with residents to become civic inventors and civic entrepreneurs through part-time training in design-thinking, prototyping, and startup methodology. It also assists mid-stage, civic tech startups with strategy, legal, financing, UX, branding, and design challenges that can arise when developing a product for government or the general public.