Civic Innovation Today/Tomorrow

Civic Innovation Field Scan - FINAL

We were delighted to see this useful Civic Innovation overview document published recently by the California Civic Innovation Project.

Authored by Alissa Black and Rachel Burstein “What Civic Innovation Looks Like Today and Tomorrow” contains many insights into the subject revealing its various complexities in progress. We would highly recommend this overview document to our readers.

Humantific is deeply involved in the civic innovation arena and what we see generally speaking is significant interest from numerous organizations in onboarding new forms of civic innovation leadership skills.

While many civic innovation white papers reference need for what is often framed generally as “leadership training” what is often missing is awareness that human-centered framing skills are going to be required if the goal is to be able to engage in diverse societal problematics. The good news is that Humantific is already teaching these skills in our Complexity Navigation Program. Of particular interest to many leaders right now is the integraton of data/information visualizations into the strategic cocreation process.

As this paper points out, the subject of civic innovation is one being tweaked and reinvented everyday by a multitude of participants operating in the still evolving civic innovation ecosystem.

Ten Things We Liked in this Publication:

1. “The ultimate goal [of civic innovation] is to improve quality of life through a deepened democracy.” p.9

2. “The field of civic innovation has great potential to create systemic change, but only if we recognize that it is more than the sum of its parts.” P.10

3. “[To enable civic innovation] Skill training must be accompanied by adequate capacity within government and partner organizations.” P.12  

4. “Civic innovation involves systemic change and institutional development, not simply the development of projects, programs or approaches.” P.8

5. “Better methods for engagement are clearly essential if civic innovation is to take root, and there are a number of programs that are doing important work in this area. But engagement shouldn’t be understood as a synonym for civic innovation. Civic innovation may also take place internally within government through the achievement of greater efficiencies or the more effective use of resources.” p.9

6. “Rather than thinking about civic innovation as synonymous with civic technology, we need to consider civic technology as a toolbox that can be used, under certain circumstances, to achieve the larger goal of civic innovation.” P.10

7. “The elements of such system-wide changes will look different depending on the local context, but all will involve some re-examination of the legal framework that regulates participation, consideration of the actors that need to be involved and the ways of putting these actors in conversation and collaboration with one another, and the sustainability of the proposed approach.” P.11

8. “…make the language of civic innovation more accessible to the layperson in  government and outside of it.” P.11

 9. “Civic innovation is more than just a compilation of projects; it can be a process as well, inspiring institutional change.” … “the spread of civic innovation throughout communities and government will require a culture shift that reframes current processes.” P.4

10. “We need to think more strategically about how to commit resources, involve residents and other actors, and build institutional capacity within government and among its partners to move the civic innovation field forward.” P.15


Civic Innovation Leadership in Austin

Measure of America: A Portrait of California 2014-2015

Data Visualization as Civic Innovation Fuel

Teaching Complexity Navigation

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