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CivicMakers Community

End of Year Reflection, 2022

What worked? What can be improved?

Mike, Judi, Leah, and Brit on a zoom call. All are smiling with the zoom filter of green sprouts coming from their heads.

It can be difficult to fit time for reflection and learning from our work into the day-to-day of running a small civic design firm with a dedicated and passionate team. This year, we shared a delicious lunch at our new office and went around the room having each team member share a simple plus/delta to help us collectively understand what we learned this year, and what we want to move forward. Below are some highlights.


What worked well in 2022

  • The growth of our design research practice as an organization, led by our Lead Design Researcher, Leah. More team members skilled up in the discipline as it underpins so much of our work – across services
  • Our caring work environment! This sentiment was expressed and shared by Senior Project Manager, Mike. Our team exhibits a great amount of care and empathy for each other.
  • Our new office! We are thrilled to have landed in another coworking space at 575 Market St. in downtown San Francisco. Come visit us in the new year! The company we’ve chosen, Mindspace, offers a ton of amenities – and we get to be part of revitalizing downtown by interacting with its many surrounding businesses. Big thanks to Brit for helping us find a new office home.



Opportunities for growth

  • Continue to build our muscle as a learning organization. There are so many interesting fields making an impact in this work, but it can be difficult to integrate learning and reflection with the hustle and bustle of civic design consulting. We endeavor to work both internal and external learning opportunities into our daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly workflows.
  • While we’ve done a lot to put supports in place to onboard new team members, we will work diligently to improve structures for internal training and skill development. We occupy a unique position in the civic design space and we’ve enjoyed developing ways to share our approach to public sector human-centered design with our community – we’re turning that practice inward to onboard and mentor our team members.
  • Our work has grown in new, and unexpected, ways over the past couple years. Hiring as a reaction to changing needs inhibited us from hiring as thoughtfully – and with as much support – as we’d like. We’re eager to bring more people into this work, to uplift more types of expertise, and to balance growth with sustainability.


Stay tuned for a more official Year in Review and Look Forward in 2023! In the meantime, we wish all of our clients, partners, and friends a restful and reflective end to another year working to improve public services.