Current Initiatives

CUTGROUP

Partners

Cook County residents; Civic technologists, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies that use CUTgroup to improve the technologies they build; Cities of Detroit, Miami, and Oakland who have sustained their own CUTgroup programs

Goal

Human-centered technology in cities leads to a number of positive outcomes for residents– a more informed public, higher engagement with institutions, and increased access to data, information and services. However, it is impossible to build inclusive and accessible technology without engaging diverse populations. The Civic User Testing Group (CUTgroup) is an innovative civic engagement and user research program that includes residents throughout the technology creation process. With a community of over 2,000 residents in Cook County, we provide feedback and recommendations to our partners to make user-friendly products and processes.

Outcome

This project is ongoing; we continue to recruit and engage residents in our program, serve our partners in designing user feedback sessions, and support other cities in replicating the CUTgroup methodology and program.

CONNECT CHICAGO

Partners

Microsoft, Sprint, Comcast, Motorola Mobility Foundation, Gogo, Clarity Partners, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Goal

Connect Chicago is a cross-sector civic initiative that seeks to make Chicago the most digitally skilled, connected, and dynamic city in America. Through collaborative piloting, we support programs imparting digital skills training, access to hardware, technology relevancy, and/or adoption of the Internet. In doing so, our goal is to increase meaningful economic and civic participation in our digital ecosystem — especially across populations that have been historically left behind by technology and innovation.

Outcome

This project is ongoing, but to review progress made in 2016, see this infographic.

AOT CIVIC ENGAGEMENT

Partners

UrbanCCD, the City of Chicago, and various community convening partners

Goal

Array of Things Civic Engagement Project is a series of community meetings and online outreach efforts to discuss the Array of Things project and introduce concepts around how the Internet of Things can benefit communities. The goals of the Array of Things Civic Engagement Project are to (1) increase awareness about the Array of Things technology (2) involve residents in the deployment of the project by understanding neighborhood research priorities and sensor placement suggestions and (3) collect public feedback on the Array of Things governance and privacy policies as they are revised.

Outcome

This project is ongoing. Three public meetings have been held to date and a round of policy feedback was completed in 2016. For more details about the first phase of the project, read the Array of Things Civic Engagement Report 2016.

CHICAGO DATA COLLABORATIVE – CRIMINAL JUSTICE PROJECT

Partners

Injustice Watch, DataMade, Invisible Institute, Chicago Appleseed Fund for Justice, Lucy Parsons Labs, Adler University, and the McCormick Foundation

Goal

The Chicago Data Collaborative is a cooperative effort by newsrooms, academics, and nonprofit researchers to help each other understand our criminal justice system. The organizations strive to acquire data from public agencies, organize and document that data, and link the data together. Collaborative members leverage these new data assets to improve work and reporting. The Data Collaborative to share these data with other partners and, whenever possible and responsible, share accessible versions of deposited data with the public.

Outcome

This project is ongoing.

CHICAGO SCHOOL OF DATA

Partners

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation as well as over 250 nonprofits and companies in Chicago putting data in service to the people.

Goal

The Chicago School of Data— or, simply, “the ecosystem project” was born out of the MacArthur Foundation’s great work in funding and shepherding data intermediaries for Chicago nonprofits over the last few decades. The fundamental goal of the Chicago School of Data project was to define and understand the robust Chicago Data Ecosystem comprised of nonprofits, government offices, volunteers, start-ups and companies. Through surveys and interviews, we identified shared data challenges surrounding training, staff capacity, open source software, privacy concerns, and storytelling. We then designed a conference around the results of our scan and invited all involved organizations to attend, network, and learn from one another.

Outcome

The findings from the Chicago School of Data Census and the Chicago School of Data convening have been published in a book for our local and national partners to learn from and replicate.

COOK COUNTY OPEN DATA

Partners

Cook County Bureau of Technology

Goal

The Smart Chicago Collaborative has a partnership with the Cook County Bureau of Technology to assist them in the creation and publication of open data in the context of the County’s Open Government Plan Ordinance and Open Government Plan. To see more about the genesis of this project, see the old Smart Chicago blog post, “On our Partnership with Cook County to Expand Open Data“.

Outcome

This project is ongoing.

KNIGHT COMMUNITY INFORMATION COHORT “DEEP DIVE”

Partners

Chicago Community Trust

Goal

The Community Information Deep Dive initiative (or just “Deep Dive”, for short) is an experiment in synthesizing new and existing community information projects into a cohesive system for engaging with residents from the seat of a community foundation. John S. and James L. Knight Foundation started the initiative in 2008 as seismic shifts in the media industry became apparent and community leaders searched for ways to help keep people informed about important issues. The effort built on recommendations from the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy on how to better meet local information needs – including rethinking public media, expanding the reach of broadband access and increasing digital and media literacy. The work is funded by the Knight Foundation through a partnership with The Chicago Community Trust.

Outcome

This project is ongoing, but more information can be found here.