Civic Technology
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Civic Technology

“The web is what you make of it.”

A (brief) history of the web

Things changed.

Source: The Way Back Machine at
Source: O’Reilly Media

Architecture of Participation

…for us working in the public sector, this is the question we have to unpack: how do you make an architecture participation work for government?

Community as Capacity

The cities that have been successful don’t just publish data, cross their fingers, and hope for impact. They get out their, and actively put data to work.

  1. You’ve got to open your doors. Actually open your doors — that’s not just as a metaphor — you’ve got to let people come inside.
  2. Create a sense of community where people are actually coming together and knowing each other.
  3. Back good people with real support, that if people are doing something meaningful with your data, you’ve got to actually give them support and resources to make it better and sustainable.
  4. Then, you’ve got to make it count, because you’ve got volunteers, you’ve got people who are giving their time, energy, and talent. You’ve got to make that real. You’ve got to make sure that that impact, that technology they build, that insight that they have, has an impact.

The Chicago Story

Money comes in maybe for snacks and sodas, not paychecks and personnel.

Philly’s Mayor Michael Nutter at Code for Philly event
Source: Anthea Watson Strong
This is actually one of my favorite restaurants in San Francisco, called AQ; they just don’t have many vegetarian options, but the ambiance is lovely.

Before, this critically important health score … is tucked away near the kitchen where nobody can see. Now, it’s in the palm of your hand.

Civic Upsells

How could we create civic upsells? How could we create those same experiences for citizens using our services from a government?

Source: RWJF & NPR Study
Illustration of Andrew Jackson’s Big Block of Cheese



Helping society work better in the 21st century. Or at least trying to.

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