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The Smart Chicago Model 
Daniel X. O’Neil 
Executive Director 
November 2014 
1 
@danxoneil @smartchicago
Points 
@danxoneil @smartchicago 
• A civic organization devoted to improving 
lives in [place] through technology 
• The ...
Our Principles 
Technology 
Open 
Everyone 
Chicago 
November 11, 2014 3
Our Principles 
Technology 
Open 
Everyone 
Chicago 
November 11, 2014 4
@danxoneil @smartchicago 
We’re all about technology 
• Everything we do relates to technology 
• We are of and about the ...
@danxoneil @smartchicago 
We are open 
• Open source code 
• More importantly: open processes, open 
minds, open methods 
...
@danxoneil @smartchicago 
Target market: everyone 
• We believe in the power of the network 
• The network needs everyone ...
@danxoneil @smartchicago 
Chicago is our middle name 
• All of our work is done here 
• Unique and thriving ecosystem 
• W...
The Strategy 
November 11, 2014 9
@danxoneil @smartchicago 
Access, Skills, and Data 
Smart Chicago is a civic organization 
devoted to improving lives in C...
@danxoneil @smartchicago 
Access 
If you’re not connected 
to the Internet, it is 
difficult for technology to 
be of much...
@danxoneil @smartchicago 
Skills 
If you can’t use the 
Internet, being 
connected isn’t going to 
be all that meaningful....
@danxoneil @smartchicago 
Data 
We construe data as 
content. Because there 
has to be something 
meaningful to look at 
o...
The Founders: 
2 Philanthropies, 1 Municipality 
November 11, 2014 14
@danxoneil @smartchicago 
The John D. and Catherine T. 
MacArthur Foundation 
• A center for ideation and 
conception 
• J...
@danxoneil @smartchicago 
The Chicago Community Trust 
• Provides housing for the 
organization and is fiscal 
agent 
• At...
@danxoneil @smartchicago 
The City of Chicago 
• The most important policy 
lever in the region 
• Departmental relationsh...
The Funding 
November 11, 2014 18
@danxoneil @smartchicago 
Sources of Capital 
• Overall budget: ~1.3M per year, not counting special 
projects 
• MacArthu...
We function as a tech 
development outfit. 
November 11, 2014 20
The Work 
November 11, 2014 21
@danxoneil @smartchicago 
Focus on ecosystem 
We make technology, programs, 
and initiatives that allow others 
to be more...
@danxoneil @smartchicago 
Amazon Web Services 
• We host dozens of apps 
for civic hackers 
• At a moment’s notice & for 
...
@danxoneil @smartchicago 
Project Work and Office Space 
• We have three employees at Smart 
Chicago 
• A deliberate strat...
@danxoneil @smartchicago 
CUTGroup 
• Civic User Testing Group as a new 
model for UX testing, digital skills 
development...
@danxoneil @smartchicago 
Eliminate The Digital Divide 
Advisory Committee 
• I am the chair of this state-based 
grant pr...
@danxoneil @smartchicago 
Cook County Open Data Work 
• We have a contract with the 
County to assist them with 
their dat...
@danxoneil @smartchicago 
Chicago School of Data 
• There is a Chicago School of 
Data emerging 
• One that places people ...
@danxoneil @smartchicago 
#CivicSummer 
• 6 week program 
• One of many on-ramps to 
digital skills 
• We learned a lot fr...
@danxoneil @smartchicago 
And we produce a lot of software. 
November 11, 2014 30
@danxoneil @smartchicago 
Foodborne Chicago 
• We use computers & code to search Twitter for 
tweets related to food poiso...
@danxoneil @smartchicago 
Chicago Early Learning 
• Easily find early learning programs near your 
home or work 
• Compare...
@danxoneil @smartchicago 
Chicago Works For You 
• Citywide dashboard with ward-by-ward 
views of service delivery in Chic...
@danxoneil @smartchicago 
Chicago Health Atlas 
• View citywide information about health 
trends and take action near you ...
And many more. 
See our website /projects 
page for up to date info 
November 11, 2014 35
@danxoneil @smartchicago 
We seek to help spread the 
Smart Chicago model. 
November 11, 2014 36
@danxoneil @smartchicago 
So hit us up. 
@danxoneil 
(773) 960-6045 
doneil@cct.org 
November 11, 2014 37
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The Smart Chicago Model

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This is a great primer for any municipality, community foundation, nonprofit, and/or civic tech outfit that is interested in replicating the Smart Chicago model.

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The Smart Chicago Model

  1. 1. The Smart Chicago Model Daniel X. O’Neil Executive Director November 2014 1 @danxoneil @smartchicago
  2. 2. Points @danxoneil @smartchicago • A civic organization devoted to improving lives in [place] through technology • The philosophy & why the model works • The founders & their roles • The strategy & why it is important • The funding & how it gets done • The work & how we do it • The cities which have shown interest to date November 11, 2014 2
  3. 3. Our Principles Technology Open Everyone Chicago November 11, 2014 3
  4. 4. Our Principles Technology Open Everyone Chicago November 11, 2014 4
  5. 5. @danxoneil @smartchicago We’re all about technology • Everything we do relates to technology • We are of and about the Internet • We believe in the transformative power of the Internet to change lives and build the economy for all November 11, 2014 5
  6. 6. @danxoneil @smartchicago We are open • Open source code • More importantly: open processes, open minds, open methods • Allowing others “in”, wherever that may be November 11, 2014 6
  7. 7. @danxoneil @smartchicago Target market: everyone • We believe in the power of the network • The network needs everyone in it in order for it to be powerful • We work on solutions that cover the entire city November 11, 2014 7
  8. 8. @danxoneil @smartchicago Chicago is our middle name • All of our work is done here • Unique and thriving ecosystem • We serve as a model for others November 11, 2014 8
  9. 9. The Strategy November 11, 2014 9
  10. 10. @danxoneil @smartchicago Access, Skills, and Data Smart Chicago is a civic organization devoted to improving lives in Chicago through technology. We work on increasing access to the Internet, improving skills for using Internet, and developing meaningful products from data that measurably contribute to the quality of life of residents in our region and beyond. November 11, 2014 10
  11. 11. @danxoneil @smartchicago Access If you’re not connected to the Internet, it is difficult for technology to be of much use to you. November 11, 2014 11
  12. 12. @danxoneil @smartchicago Skills If you can’t use the Internet, being connected isn’t going to be all that meaningful. November 11, 2014 12
  13. 13. @danxoneil @smartchicago Data We construe data as content. Because there has to be something meaningful to look at once you’re connected and skilled. November 11, 2014 13
  14. 14. The Founders: 2 Philanthropies, 1 Municipality November 11, 2014 14
  15. 15. @danxoneil @smartchicago The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation • A center for ideation and conception • Julia Stasch: 2007 report, “The City that NETWorks” • Our primary source of funding November 11, 2014 15
  16. 16. @danxoneil @smartchicago The Chicago Community Trust • Provides housing for the organization and is fiscal agent • At the center of funding and knowledge for the region • Critical financial, human resources, and other support November 11, 2014 16
  17. 17. @danxoneil @smartchicago The City of Chicago • The most important policy lever in the region • Departmental relationships • A critical partner for having impact and getting things done November 11, 2014 17
  18. 18. The Funding November 11, 2014 18
  19. 19. @danxoneil @smartchicago Sources of Capital • Overall budget: ~1.3M per year, not counting special projects • MacArthur: primary; essential • CCT: critical back-office support as well as grants • Sprague: on-target programs centered on health • Knight: an essential, growing partner focused on civic engagement • Cook County: to do open data work November 11, 2014 19
  20. 20. We function as a tech development outfit. November 11, 2014 20
  21. 21. The Work November 11, 2014 21
  22. 22. @danxoneil @smartchicago Focus on ecosystem We make technology, programs, and initiatives that allow others to be more effective— to provide clarity and impetus November 11, 2014 22
  23. 23. @danxoneil @smartchicago Amazon Web Services • We host dozens of apps for civic hackers • At a moment’s notice & for as long as they want • This allows us to be helpful at the moment of inspiration • Eliminating stoppers, encouraging innovation November 11, 2014 23
  24. 24. @danxoneil @smartchicago Project Work and Office Space • We have three employees at Smart Chicago • A deliberate strategy to spread revenue, power, and growth across the ecosystem • We are founding tenants of 1871, going back to May 2012 • We’ve helped jumpstart a half dozen companies • OpenGov Hack Night— an institution. They are there because of our seats November 11, 2014 24
  25. 25. @danxoneil @smartchicago CUTGroup • Civic User Testing Group as a new model for UX testing, digital skills development, and community engagement in civic tech • 800+ residents are available • We’ve paid each of them a $5 VISA gift card. When they participate in a test, they get a $20 gift card • We help the developers design and implement UX testing and it allows us to be deeply engaged with communities while improving digital skills November 11, 2014 25
  26. 26. @danxoneil @smartchicago Eliminate The Digital Divide Advisory Committee • I am the chair of this state-based grant program • They give grants to community technology centers all over the state of Illinois • Allows me to be more plugged in to the investments happening outside of a particular jurisdiction November 11, 2014 26
  27. 27. @danxoneil @smartchicago Cook County Open Data Work • We have a contract with the County to assist them with their data portal • Pure block-and-tackle technical assistance • Helping publish data that grows the ecosystem November 11, 2014 27
  28. 28. @danxoneil @smartchicago Chicago School of Data • There is a Chicago School of Data emerging • One that places people at the center • One in the service of people November 11, 2014 28
  29. 29. @danxoneil @smartchicago #CivicSummer • 6 week program • One of many on-ramps to digital skills • We learned a lot from our partners • Other projects and technology grow from it (expunge.io, for example) • This highlights the importance of doing— not just funding and providing infrastructure for others November 11, 2014 29
  30. 30. @danxoneil @smartchicago And we produce a lot of software. November 11, 2014 30
  31. 31. @danxoneil @smartchicago Foodborne Chicago • We use computers & code to search Twitter for tweets related to food poisoning in Chicago • We do as much as we can to automatically zero-in on the tweets we think are really about a possible food poisoning case and really coming from Chicago • Then real humans review the tweets and @reply back to people with a link back to our site, hoping to generate legitimate service requests November 11, 2014 31
  32. 32. @danxoneil @smartchicago Chicago Early Learning • Easily find early learning programs near your home or work • Compare programs side-by-side to select the highest quality option for your child • Kick off the enrollment process November 11, 2014 32
  33. 33. @danxoneil @smartchicago Chicago Works For You • Citywide dashboard with ward-by-ward views of service delivery in Chicago • Slice, dice, view, review • Sort by whatever interests you • Automatic, running totals November 11, 2014 33
  34. 34. @danxoneil @smartchicago Chicago Health Atlas • View citywide information about health trends and take action near you to improve your own health • Our health programs are run by Kyla Williams • Also: Smart Health Centers November 11, 2014 34
  35. 35. And many more. See our website /projects page for up to date info November 11, 2014 35
  36. 36. @danxoneil @smartchicago We seek to help spread the Smart Chicago model. November 11, 2014 36
  37. 37. @danxoneil @smartchicago So hit us up. @danxoneil (773) 960-6045 doneil@cct.org November 11, 2014 37

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