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The State of Civic Tech Impact in the US


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This was presented by Kate Krontiris (Omidyar
Network, USA) at the Impacts of Civic Technology Conference (TICTeC2016) in Barcelona on 27th April. You can find out more information about the conference here:

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The State of Civic Tech Impact in the US

  1. 1. The State of Civic Tech Impact in the United States TICTeC 2016 || Barcelona || April 2016 Kate Krontiris || on behalf of the Omidyar Network Governance and Citizen Engagement Initiative
  2. 2. Agenda Project Overview 5 Key Trends Discussion
  3. 3. Project Overview
  4. 4. If you had a great idea for improving civic life in the United States, how would you know if it had ultimately succeeded?
  5. 5. About the Project In the fall of 2015, the Omidyar Network's Governance & Citizen Engagement team wanted to understand more deeply: ● how different civic tech constituencies conceptualize their impact, ● what indicators they use to measure that impact, and ● which data sources they use for measurement.
  6. 6. Research Purposes ● Internal: to improve the way Omidyar is measuring progress and impact within its own civic tech portfolio ● External: to share what we learn with others in our community, so that we may have shared insights into our work
  7. 7. Research Questions 1. How do civic tech entities in the U.S. measure their own impact? ○ What problems do they see themselves solving? ○ What goals do they hold in addressing those problems? ○ What activities are they implementing to achieve those goals? ○ What outcomes are they tracking as indication of progress? ○ How do they define “impact” in their work? ○ What metrics are they using to measure that impact? ○ What data sources are they using for their metrics? 2. What gaps exist – both for these organizations individually and at the sector level – between indicators we would want to be measuring and indicators we are actually measuring?
  8. 8. Methodology Literature / Best practices review Interviews with 65 people at 42 organizations; SF, NYC, Boston, Virtual
  9. 9. Many thanks to our participants Foundations Hewlett Goldhirsh Knight MacArthur Ford Democracy Fund Rita Allen Non-Profit Practitioners Tumml Code for America Public Agenda SIM Lab Fuse Corps mySociety Center for Technology and Civic Life Democracy Works Sharp Insight Public Policy Lab ioby Smart Chicago Collaborative Ciudadano Intelligente Government 18F Boston MONUM Large City Technology Official Tech Companies Google - Social Impact Partnerships Microsoft - Civic Engagement Anonymous A large technology company Venture Capital Andreesen Horowitz Union Square Ventures Dundee Venture Capital New Media Ventures Issue Experts New American Foundation Deliberative Democracy Consortium Urban Institute MIT Media Lab CIRCLE, Tufts Huffington Post Pew NYU Gov Lab For-Profit Practitioners Brigade Aunt Bertha Civic Hall 9
  10. 10. 5 Key Trends
  11. 11. #1 Impact is a work in progress
  12. 12. What might help ● Help organizations “see” each other’s frameworks ● Program discussions of impact in civic tech convenings ● Facilitate peer learning across the sector
  13. 13. #2 It is hard to deliver impact and measure it at the same time
  14. 14. What might help ● Invest in organizations to do impact research ● Make research resources available to smaller organizations via “research capacity fund,” akin to the Knight Prototype Fund
  15. 15. #3 Variety is a blessing and a curse
  16. 16. What might help ● Support coordinating bodies to draw connections between problems, approaches, solutions – to chart larger system change ● Facilitate open dashboard of organizational metrics, sharing learnings, publishing case studies
  17. 17. #4 To demonstrate impact, we need to talk about values
  18. 18. What might help ● Convene stakeholders to reflect on values and develop shared, standard, practical measures of impact ● Encourage funders to be more transparent about their processes, initiatives, and investments
  19. 19. #5 More discernable impact will emerge when the field aligns itself more clearly in service of societal goals
  20. 20. What might help ● Experiment by narrowing to specific verticals (ex. “health,” “safety and justice”)
  21. 21. Moving forward, we need ... Peer learning opportunities Long-term perspective More robust impact capture and communication
  22. 22. Discussion
  23. 23. Thank you! For further information: Alissa Black Principal, Investments Omidyar Network || Governance & Citizen Engagement Initiative Kate Krontiris