create / 2018

Bridging social enterprise, technology, and local government to accelerate civic innovators.

Bridging social enterprise, technology, and local government to accelerate civic innovators.

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Activation Challenge by Civic Innovation Lab

Civic Innovation Lab facilitates cross-sector collaboration and the creation of civic solutions through design challenges, structured programming, and networking with public & private sector experts.

Please describe the activation your organization seeks to launch.

Civic Innovation Lab seeks to harness the passion and ingenuity of our community members, the power of technology, and the expertise of our local government to facilitate the development of solutions addressing some of our City’s most pressing social and civic problems. Our programs are designed to bridge the digital divide and connect a wide spectrum of stakeholders in the civic ideation and product development process, resulting in the infrastructure necessary to yield measurable impact.

Which of the create metrics will your activation impact?​

  • Jobs per capita
  • Minority- and women-owned firms
  • Number of high-growth startups

Will your proposal impact any other LA2050 goal categories?

  • LA is the healthiest place to LIVE

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • County of Los Angeles
  • City of Los Angeles

How will your activation mobilize Angelenos?

  • Trainings and/or in-person engagements
  • Create new tools or technologies for greater civic/political engagement
  • Increase participation in political processes
  • Connect Angelenos with impactful volunteer opportunities

Describe in greater detail how your activation will make LA the best place to create?

Los Angeles has the potential to be the premiere ecosystem for civic innovation and entrepreneurship. Already home to the nation’s third largest technology community behind Silicon Valley and New York City, Los Angeles has demonstrated the talent, resources, and empathy that are the foundation of a successful entrepreneurship community.

However, like any innovation community, its success or failure will hinge in part on its infrastructure for taking new ideas to market. This infrastructure is especially important for civic technologists and entrepreneurs who are on the front lines of breaking down barriers to new frontiers of public and social sector innovation.

Over the last decade, we have seen cities become overburdened with increasing demands and limited resources, all the while a cadre of local citizens and organizations have been raising their hands to utilize technology to help make their cities work better. The rise of the hackathon model is evidence of the pent up demand from the tech community to work on issues that matter. While hackathons can jumpstart the process that leads to lasting solutions, we are fundamentally missing the civic infrastructure that bridges the digital divide and brings expert citizens, the tech community, and local government together in a process to yield measurable civic and social impact.

Launched in 2014, Civic Innovation Lab (CIL) serves as a platform to facilitate cross-sector collaboration and the creation of civic and social solutions through a mix of design challenges, structured programming, and networking with public and private sector experts.

We believe all citizens, not only developers and programmers, need to be engaged in how technology improves our public lives and makes government more effective. We recognize that experts in policy, urban planning, social justice, and citizens at large may be the best suited to develop solutions that lead to measurable impact in the public sphere. To this end, our programs aim to engage anyone with a project or idea and connect them to volunteers with the necessary design and tech skills and subject matter expertise in order to partner and prototype solutions.

We also know that to get real traction and develop civic tech that works, it needs to happen through a facilitated process that involves engagement and testing over time. We aim to create civic infrastructure that brings expert citizens, the tech community, and government together in a process to yield measurable civic and social impact.

How will your activation engage Angelenos to make LA the best place to create

CIL demonstrates how to build civic tech “with and not for” by engaging the people for whom the innov. challenge seeks to create value throughout the challenge design process. Using a design thinking & user-centered approach, we convene with a wide spectrum of stakeholders across the city - from the valley to South LA to the westside - to understand their needs, pain points, and aspirations. This precursor to the competition activates a culturally & socio-economically diverse set of constituents in a truly collaborative & inclusive process that unifies them towards a common goal.

Our design process lends to a more engaged community, one that will have a vested interest in the development of solutions that address the pressing issues that they themselves have identified. By putting people first, we will get better submissions that lead to commercialization opportunities & create positive impact for LA.

CIL will then launch an accelerator program, harnessing the passion of citizens, public sector experience, and the power of tech to develop & deploy viable tech solutions by accomplishing the following over time:

*Provide a new, equitable pathway for residents to participate in civic innovation to ensure the highest levels of diversity;

*Improve connections among gov agencies and the tech ecosystem;

*Provide unique, flexible training and support for civic innovators and entrepreneurs; and

*Assist government agencies and foundations in finding and testing innovative ideas.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your activation.​

At the most basic level, our programs aim to democratize the entrepreneurial pathway for individuals across the city to become civic innovators. We will measure our success by tracking the number of people coming through our programs - from the challenge design process to the innovation challenge and through the accelerator program - as participants, volunteers, competition submitters, mentors, advisors, and investors. Through the development of various solutions born out of our programs, we will also measure job creation as teams formalize and launch viable solutions across the city.

Where do you hope this activation or your organization will be in five years?

We hope that Civic Innovation Lab can be a mainstay organization and opportunity for all Angelenos, regardless of age, socio-economic status, race, culture, or any other factors that currently prohibit them from participating in the civic tech ecosystem.