Across Canada, data and technology are becoming increasingly synonymous with city-building. With the rapid uptake of new technologies in our daily lives, Canadians have come to expect a certain level of convenience and efficiency with government public services and products. Governments seeking to meet these new expectations face a number of barriers: procurement processes which haven’t been adapted for “agile” approaches, challenges engaging with users, and a mismatch between enthusiasm for new tools and the capacity to effectively use them can make it challenging and costly for cities to deploy new technology solutions.
But there’s a different path available for public servants. In towns and cities large and small, there are passionate and dedicated people coming together to create simple digital tools—like apps, websites and browser add-ons—that make their communities better. In the past, these groups were almost exclusively made up of software developers and designers, but they’ve come to welcome a wide swath of the public to make sure technology responds to real challenges in a way that is empathetic and inclusive. Many of them are motivated by a common ethos that it’s better to build a technological solution “with” their community, not simply “for” their community.
The playbook is arranged into six easy steps (plus a step “zero”) that will put you on sure footing for constructive collaboration with civic tech communities:
- Play 0. Show up, Make Friends, Share Your Work
- Play 1. Share Opportunities
- Play 2. Host a Hack Night
- Play 3. Supply Resources to Civic Hackathons
- Play 4. Fund Civic Tech Projects
- Play 5. Build on What Already Exists
- Play 6. Start a Civic Tech Community
Authors: Aaron Wytze Wilson & Hebah Masood
Published By: Code for Canada
Publication Date: 2018