The impacts of Civic Tech... on the people who make it

Julia Kloiber
Sheba Najmi

26 Apr 2017, 12:15 p.m.
Room 4

When we talk about the impact of civic technology, we tend to look only at the impact on the recipients, the end users of civic technology. But what about the impact it has on the Civic Tech makers — the individuals who become creators and change agents? How did the Civic Tech movement change them in conviction and practices, in attitude, behavior, and career paths?

In the last decade, open source civic technology has allowed everyday citizens to become makers and feel empowered to use their skills to create solutions, rather than being limited to using their voices to complain.

We see them become infused with a sense of responsibility towards their cities and their fellow citizens just based on these acts of participation and creation. Given this resulting meaningful transformation in the role of citizens, we have found that another meaningful way to track impact is at the individual, personal level.

The impact of Civic Tech organisations, for instance, may be measured not just by the end-user impact of the products they deploy, but also by the numbers of lives they transform into makers in the process. Oftentimes, the greatest accomplishment of Civic Tech organisations is in their storytelling which can kickstart thousands of citizens to become Civic Tech makers and community organisers in their cities. We have seen civic hackers become community organisers, civic entrepreneurs, and policy experts.

Instead of focusing solely on the engineering aspect of Civic Tech, they are helping others become part of the Civic Tech movement and are advising governments on how to implement open data policies. In this talk we want to measure the impact of the global Civic Tech movement by placing a spotlight on individuals who became creators and change agents when they were touched by the international Code for All network.