The CTDC Toolkit | Ingredients of a Civic Tech and Data Collaborative

Tools for getting your civic tech and data collaborative off the ground

Christopher Whitaker
Civic Tech & Data Collaborative


The Civic Tech and Data Collaborative Toolkit — compiled by Living Cities, the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership and Code for America — is a collection of resources and tools for anyone interested in unleashing the power of local data and civic technology in their community. We’ve divided the tools into five categories: Ingredients of a civic tech collaborative, engaging low income residents, mobilizing collective action, and resourcing collaboratives, and sustaining the gain.

Equipt to Innovate Framework

Governing & Living Cities, 2016

The Equipt to Innovate framework offers practical insights around what makes a city high performing. This framework is made up of seven “key elements” whose presence indicates that innovation is occurring in local government. Together, these elements make a city “equipt to innovate,” and mean that a city government is likely applying them to improve the lives of low-income people and all residents.

Brigade Organizer Resources

Code for America, 2018

Organizing a Brigade? Over the past five years, the Code for America (CfA) community has learned a lot about what works when building a sustainable civic hacking group in a community. Here are some resources to help you get started, including:

  • A playbook on how to form and run a Brigade
  • A list of donated software
  • A handbook of available CfA resources
  • The Brigade Contact Directory

Guide to Starting a Local Data Intermediary

Leah Hendey, Jake Cowan, G. Thomas Kingsley, Kathryn L.S. Pettit; National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership, 2016

The National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership (NNIP), coordinated by the Urban Institute, is a peer learning network of local organizations that share a mission of improving low-income neighborhoods by empowering local stakeholders to use data in planning, policymaking, and community building. Based on 20 years of NNIP experience, this guide describes the role of a local data intermediary, the process of identifying a home for the intermediary, and how to think about initial fundraising and activities.

Guide to Civic Tech and Data Ecosystem Mapping

Olivia Arena, Crystal Li, 2018

Ecosystems are dynamic networks that emerge through connections between many actors. Civic tech and data ecosystems are shaped by interactions between local actors who use or create data and technology to improve civic life, specifically government services and other policies and programs that affect low-income residents. To better support and leverage local connections, ecosystem mapping is a process that allows people to visualize their network and understand how each organization in the community contributed or could contribute to common goals. This document provides guidance and examples on the value of mapping, key questions when getting started, different methods to collect the data, and how to use and analyze ecosystem maps to strengthen community relationships.

Guide to Actor Mapping

FSG, 2018

Use this step-by-step guide from FSG to facilitate your own actor mapping session. An actor map is a visual depiction of the key organizations and individuals that influence a topic, giving insight into the players within a system. Breaking down the mapping process into three stages — preparation, facilitation, and revision — this guide provides detailed instructions, helpful hints, and visual examples for practitioners to follow as they create this type of system map.

Structuring Your Data: An Introduction to Kumu’s Data Model

Kumu, 2018

If you’ve decided to use Kumu for your ecosystem mapping, this guide will help you organize your data into a spreadsheet and prepare it for import. Topics include:

  • Deciding which types of elements to map
  • Adding information about those elements using fields
  • Deciding which connections to map
  • Determining the best way to create those connections
  • Building your spreadsheet and importing
  • Other common questions



Christopher Whitaker
Civic Tech & Data Collaborative

Civic Technologist - @CodeforAmerica Brigade Program Manager - #chihacknight co-host — @USArmy 11B - MPA - Author of The @CivicWhitaker Anthology — Chicagoland