CivicMakers is an innovation and engagement firm headquartered in San Francisco, California. We love listening, solving problems and building relationships that improve our communities and institutions. Our service design, community engagement and digital expertise brings the human side of technology to public agencies, social enterprises and nonprofits. You can find us at City Hall, the local co-working space or one of the trainings and events we regularly host with our community.


A world in which 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.


  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. Humans are unique in our ability to ask questions, use tools to solve problems, and work together in diverse groups
  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

The CivicMakers Team

Lawrence Grodeska
Co-founder & Chief Everything Officer

Lawrence Grodeska is a maker, communicator and civic geek who uses technology to help civic leaders in the public and private sector engage key audiences. (more…)

Judi Brown
Co-founder & Chief Impact Officer

Judi Brown is a Partner and Chief Impact Officer with CivicMakers, bringing 10+ years of innovation work with social enterprises, nonprofits, and local governments to the practice.

Brian Purchia

Brian Purchia is a long time strategic advisor for San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation and was the driving force behind the nation’s first open data law, open source software policy, and API for government. (more…)

Cristelle Blackford
Chief Engagement Officer

Cristelle is a community engagement specialist, post-it note enthusiast, and civic impact design nerd working to make government more effective, efficient, and equitable. She has 10+ years experience blending project management, community outreach, and collaborative problem solving across sectors. 


Jim Rettew
Senior Strategist & Facilitator

Jim is a mission-driven intrapreneur, someone with entrepreneurial DNA but who works inside organizations doing good in the world, injecting them with business discipline, right-brain inventiveness, and media savvy to move the needle of social change.   (more…)

Lauren Caldwell
Communications Associate

Lauren is an online communications, marketing and digital outreach wiz and a skilled UX researcher.

Tiffany Schoepp
Innovation Designer

Tiffany is a UX Researcher and Designer who uses empathy and storytelling to engage communities working together to achieve social impact. (more…)

Scott Taylor
Learning Consultant

Scott is an accomplished non-profit executive, leadership facilitator and strategy consultant with 20 years of experience working in large and small organizations.

Denise Cheng
Innovation Researcher

Denise Cheng specializes in a variety of research methods, program strategy, qualitative research and fieldwork, prototyping and implementation, and various forms of storytelling.

Duy Pham
Community Management Intern

Duy Pham enriches CivicMakers with his global mindset and outreach experience. He is an undergraduate student at Minerva Schools, where he is pursing an interdisciplinary degree.


John N. Kelly
Director of Deliberative Process

John N. Kelly is a collaborative sense-maker. He has developed and applied a range of deliberative processes that engage citizens and stakeholders in the public, nonprofit, and private sectors.


Former Collaborators

Gina Cooper
Founder, Netroots Nation
Chris Palmatier
Neighborland, Coursera
Ben Snyder
Molly Curley O’Brien
Innovation Associate

Featured Client Case Studies

CHHS sought CivicMakers’ service design expertise to better understand stakeholder needs in order to develop the 1849 Collaborative platform, which promotes collaboration around health and human service data.

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The CivicMakers team is training all 400 City of San Rafael staff in human-centered design and applying service design to improve City services and to support a culture of innovation throughout the organization.

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Facing some of the highest rates in the State of diabetes, obesity, and smoking, Suisun City (with help from Solano County) engaged CivicMakers and Michael Baker Intl. to develop a 6 month community leadership training to cultivate and empower residents to become public health champions.

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