Civic tech bridges the gap between the civic space and technology. It’s utilizing technology practices like design, engineering, data science, etc. to optimize the processes for civic organizations.
“...those of us who work in civic tech want public digital goods to be as good as the ones made by commercial entities like Apple or Google—and we want public digital infrastructure to be as good, too.”
Code for America is a non-partisan, non-political 501 organization founded in 2009 to address the widening gap between the public and private sectors in their effective use of technology and design. Part of what they do is lead the Code for America Brigade Network where over 25,000 active members are committed to making their local communities better. Leveraging on the Code for America name and the tools they provide improve the way in which we work.
Code for Chicago operates like a pro-bono digital consultancy. In lieu of making decisions on behalf of the communities we serve, we operate shoulder-to-shoulder. When we start a new project we typically partner up with a local organization. This means we begin by identifying their needs, drafting a problem statement, and collaborating throughout the process. Since we aren't our users, this ensures we are effectively addressing the needs of the community and not operating from our own perspective as practitioners.
Other than doing projects for a good cause, volunteers of various skill sets and levels join us to try out civic tech, network with like-minded people, and learn new skills.