We live in challenging times. Thankfully, even though our differences may sometimes seem greater than our likenesses, we still have each other and, ultimately, we’re in this together. Each of us shares the same need for food, water, shelter, love, and community. Each of us experiences suffering when those needs are not met. Each of us has a unique voice that expresses our own heart-felt passions. In a word, each of us is human.

The recognition of our shared humanity is the foundation of democracy — the belief that all people are created equal, and, as such, must be treated equally. This was the starting point for the United States of America 240 years ago, and it is the starting point for solving the problems facing our country and our communities today. Tectonic political, cultural and technological shifts are reshaping our lives and communities before our eyes, ushering in great convenience and wealth for some, along with fewer options and increasing social isolation for many. Amidst these changes, faith in our social and political institutions fades as we lose touch with the hope that has characterized the American mindset. However, during the dark chapters of our collective past–be it slavery, internment camps, or the House Un-American Activities Committee–we have always found our way back to our core values.

We believe the pathway to a renewed sense of hope and real progress for all is a “civics of empathy” that brings us towards one another and unites us in our shared humanity. Practically, in our organizations and institutions, we need better processes for listening to each other in order to create actionable feedback that addresses the “sticky” shared challenges. It is clear that the methods we have been using, from noisy public meetings to lagging public policy to ineffective public education efforts, aren’t working. In this moment of cultural questioning and civic crisis, cultivating empathy and collaborative problem-solving are the innovations we should be investing in.

Government agencies, social enterprises and nonprofits are increasingly realizing the value of digital-first, human-centered approaches to designing processes, policy, products and services. This represents a major paradigm shift in how individuals and organizations shape workflows and interactions with their clients and colleagues, along with how success is measured. CivicMakers seeks to play a significant role in supporting these cultural, political and social changes by applying our experience, knowledge and expertise in inspiring and implementing innovative practices for impact-driven outcomes.

Our vision of the world is nothing less than every community having the tools necessary to co-create solutions to their shared challenges. One where every individual is able to contribute their unique voice to crafting the policies and designing the services they need.

In this moment of great cultural change, we want to be clear with our community, our clients, and ourselves about our beliefs, and the truths upon which they are built, so that we can set up a realistic plan to realize our vision.  After much deliberation and wordsmithing, we’re eager to share a revised Vision and Mission, as well as a new statement of CivicMakers Principles and Values to guide all of our work in 2017 and beyond. As always, we welcome your feedback and are grateful for your community.

Principles, Values, Vision & Mission


  1. Humans are part of nature
  2. All humans share the same needs for food, water, shelter, love, community
  3. All humans experience suffering when basic needs are not met
  4. All humans have the potential to learn, love and create
  5. What makes us human is our ability to ask questions and use tools to solve problems
  6. Humanity requires the cooperation and active participation of people in their communities to survive


  • We prioritize inclusion and equity
  • We listen actively and with empathy
  • We learn by doing
  • We are collaborative
  • We are transparent
  • We are hopeful


A world where every community has the tools necessary to co-create solutions to their shared challenges.


CivicMakers partners with organizations and institutions to advance human-centered, collaborative problem-solving through education, consultation and a community of practice.

2017 Goals and Objectives

GOAL 1: Create A Strong Foundation – Strengthen the capacity for CivicMakers as an organization to continue providing services that delight our clients and community through thoughtful processes that lead to sustainable growth.

  • Objective 1.1: Internal Processes – Maintain a “client-first” approach and utilize lean development methodologies to stay nimble, adaptive and resourceful.
  • Objective 1.2: Organizational Design & Growth – Ensure we are continually learning through self-evaluation and consultation with our community.  Create a supportive, respectful, creative, fun and collaborative culture.

GOAL 2: Grow our Community – Increase the collective impact of individuals, organizations and institutions who share the CivicMakers vision, mission and values by creating greater access points for collaboration and awareness of each other’s efforts.

  • Objective 2.1: Grow and engage email list – Grow our email list and newsletter subscribers by employing research and best practices in growth tactics with authentic communication and content creation.
  • Objective 2.2: Develop a volunteer “pipeline” – Create engagement opportunities and partnerships to allow new and emerging civic innovation practitioners to help CivicMakers expand while simultaneously growing their connections and knowledge of the space.
  • Objective 2.3: Pilot a CivicMakers Entrepreneurs Network – Explore the potential for a professional network of civic & government technology companies and entrepreneurs to share resources, opportunities and insights for business growth and increased impact.
  • Objective 2.4: Refine event strategy for hosted and external events – Establish guidelines for CivicMakers team to make strategic use of events while continuing to deliver quality opportunities for collaboration and connection to others in the civic innovation ecosystem.

GOAL 3: Share Stories and Solutions – Demonstrate the role of CivicMakers as community builders and problem-solvers through digital and in-person opportunities for storytelling.

  • Objective 3.1: Content marketing – Grow followers and create opportunities for knowledge exchange through the ongoing creation and distribution of consistent, timely, and thought-provoking content, including ah a “solutions directory” to demonstrate the impact of innovation processes and practices.
  • Objective 3.2: Big ticket partnerships – Establish meaningful partnerships with prominent organizations in the civic and government innovation space, along with general terms and expectations for formal partnerships and agreements.

GOAL 4: Generate Revenue to Sustain Ourselves and our Impact – Continue to refine core offerings for consulting, explore various funding opportunities from venture capital to grants, and expand training offerings.

  • Objective 4.1: Consulting – Outline and execute lead generation campaign and develop framework for desired clients to include mission-alignment, budget, type of work, geography and workload while expanding geographical reach of clients outside the Bay Area.
  • Objective 4.2: Grants – Apply for at least 3 grants in 2017 by identifying funders supporting civic innovation work and potential strategic partnerships with nonprofits.
  • Objective 4.3: Training – Pilot multi-agency trainings in Public Impact Design and assess which topics, skill-building opportunities and formats for trainings resonate most with target audiences, and formalize advisory committee to continuously test and iterate training offerings.

Theory of Change

AUDIENCE: Local & state agencies; technology companies; large nonprofits; civic-minded foundations and institutions







  • CivicMakers becomes known for teaching its own  application of human-centered design methodology contextualized and customized to fit the needs of public agencies through its Public Impact Design series.
  • Public agencies learn innovation processes and methodologies for creating and sustaining lasting change within their organizations and beyond.
  • Trainings become a viable source of revenue generation for the company.
  • CivicMakers continues to hone primary practice of service design to help clients reimagine process, policy, programs and service delivery from a user-centered perspective.
  • CivicMakers clients are delighted by services provided and are able to generate measurable, co-created metrics for success.
  • CivicMakers uses its knowledge, experience and connections in the civic innovation space to support civic entrepreneurs.
  • CivicMakers continues to be an entry point and convener for the civic innovation community and curator of solutions through our newsletter, events and storytelling.


  • CivicMakers is recognized as a leader in training and professional development for civic innovators.
  • Organizations and institutions receiving training services are able to sustain the learnings and processes against constraints such as budgetary cuts and administration changes through an emphasis on “training the trainers” and identifying internal champions.
  • CivicMakers is recognized among its clients as the most creative, trustworthy, and fun group to work with to successfully adopt and institute innovation practices for agencies and organizations.
  • CivicMakers’ clients have a demonstrated track record of collaborative, inclusive problem-solving, and equitable, transparent applications of technology in their work.
  • Community members  are always consulted when programs, policies, products or services are being designed and implemented.
  • CivicMakers is known for building communities, resources and support for civic entrepreneurs.
  • Members of the CivicMakers Entrepreneur Network create measurable social and economic impact with their ventures while continuing to build the civic innovation field.
  • Civic solutions co-created by communities across the country have long-term, measurable impacts.