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The first CivicMakers Salon in 2014

The first CivicMakers Salon in 2014


The CivicMakers story began, of course, with people coming together.

In the Spring of 2014, Lawrence shared with Brian his inspiration for creating a space for those interested in the new(ish) field of civictech to convene, dream and do. On a summer San Francisco evening, at a coworking space on Market Street, they brought together over 150 people to share ideas for how democracy could be improved through technology and innovation. CivicMakers was born.

Lawrence and Judi at STIR Demo Day

Lawrence and Judi at STIR Demo Day


From the spark of that first event, it was clear a light would continue growing to draw together a community of passionate civic professionals. In 2015, Judi chipped in to organize an event about democracy in the workplace. While continuing the event hustle, she and Lawrence launched CivicMakers consulting services by supporting the seminal Startup In Residence program to grow from a local, to regional, to national program.

Team photo of Lawrence, Judi, Cristelle, and Brian


In 2016, we launched our popular LINKS newsletter to connect our community by highlighting the good work and many opportunities in the civic space.

By 2017, our consulting work was ramping up, and Cristelle joined to help professionalize our consulting services and expand our community engagement offerings. Since then, we’ve had the opportunity to work with local government and civic organizations across the state of California and beyond. Highlights include co-creating one municipality’s first city-wide strategic plan, teaching human-centered design to nearly an entire city staff, and designing a program to ensure diverse resident input on digital city services. Learn more about our work and our services.

Introduction to Human-Centered Design. Two pairs of training participants are sharing and discussing the prototypes that they developed for each other.


Also in 2017, we hosted our first training on human-centered design, which has grown into a suite of trainings and learning experiences, including our signature Learning Lab program.

Before the COVID pandemic, we had hosted over a hundred trainings, workshops and public events, from meetups to happy hours, from salons to hackathons, for thousands of civic and government professionals. We are ever grateful for what we learn from these inspiring humans, and this learning continues to inform our work. We hope to give back by sharing some of our most-used tools and resources.

The CivicMakers team of seven stands side by side in a line, smiling. The background is a blurred brick wall.


Throughout the pandemic, we’ve continued our work, while hosting virtual events as we can. And we’ve grown an amazing team of civic magicians, while continuing to refine our approach, as well as the services we offer for local governments and civic organizations.

Today, we are excited to continue growing our work, gathering our community and sharing our resources, with a focus on...

Our Vision

A world in which inclusive, consistent, collaborative decision-making furthers the betterment of all beings and the planet.

Our Mission

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


Near Star 1 - Praxis & Proof

Continue to deepen our practice in order to become leading practitioners in the facilitation of group processes for creative, collaborative decision-making. This includes applying theoretical frameworks/models in real-world scenarios (“onlife” and online) and measuring meaningful impacts to test our hypotheses.

Near Star 2 - Find, Gather & Share

Map the ecosystem of practitioners, partners, funders and decision-makers and grow a community of practice to share learnings (ours and those of others) about the wise application of theoretical frameworks and/or models so that more humans have access to improved decision-making regardless of their educational attainment or organizational affiliation.

Near Star 3 - Team & Culture

Continuously iterate on the design of our company in a way that more fully embodies our ideal vision for the future (e.g., collaborative, equitable, resilient, distributed) in order to sustain a healthy, balanced and joyful team.