What is CivicMakers?

A year in the life of CivicMakers

People still ask us “What is CivicMakers?” In many ways, we’re still asking that same question, but after the whirlwind of 2016, we have some answers! It feels a bit strange to feel so positive about a year that was rife with challenge, loss and confusion in many ways, but last year was also a tremendous one for our fledgling company.

If our name rings a bell, you may recognize us from our many events, our work with the Startup In Residence program, or maybe LINKS — our popular newsletter. We’d like to take this opportunity to properly introduce ourselves, our work and what lies ahead.

As we move into 2017, we want who we are and what we do to be crystal clear. So before jumping into the year-in-review post you probably expected was coming, here’s a quick TL;DR:

  • CivicMakers is an innovation and engagement consulting firm headquartered in San Francisco, California. We are an impact-driven social enterprise.
  • We envision a world where every community has the tools necessary to co-create solutions to their shared challenges.
  • We partner with organizations and institutions to advance human-centered, collaborative problem-solving through education, consultation and a community of practice.
  • Read our 2017 Strategic Plan, let us know what kind of events we should host this year, or contact us about working together.

Make sense? Great. Now here’s a brief rundown of what we’ve done, what we’re going to do and why we’re going to do it, along with a few big announcements and opportunities for you to get involved.

Looking Back at 2016

We know that some would rather not revisit 2016, but we learned valuable lessons about who we are, and how we can be of service. It was a blockbuster year for us, filled with laughs, community, insights and hard work. Some of the highlights include:

  • Incorporating and becoming a city vendor in San Francisco
  • Supporting city staff and entrepreneurs in the Startup in Residence program, co-developing solutions to civic challenges in 4 cities across California
  • Hosting 33 events, including Startup In Residence Demo Day, 3 collaboration cafes and 2 design thinking workshops
  • 13 speaking engagements at conferences like Personal Democracy Forum, Code for America Summit and BridgeSF
  • Meeting Jim Rettew, who spearheaded the revamp of our newsletter into the popular LINKS, a twice-monthly missive of all things civic and social innovation
  • Starting a successful partnership with Impact Hub to offer programming and networking opportunities for members of the social impact-focused coworking and events space

If you really want to nerd out on CivicMakers, check out our complete list of 2016 happenings and a brief origin story.

2017 and Beyond

We accomplished a lot in 2016, and we did it with a small but mighty crew. Lawrence and Judi served clients, Brian chipped in on press and bizdev, Jim redesigned LINKS and ran trainings, and so many others provided advice and made our events super smooth. It was an incredibly productive, extremely tiring year. Given our big plans for 2017, we knew we needed help. Not just any old help, but a super passionate, super fun, super civic human that could help take CivicMakers to the next level.

Cristelle, Brian, Judi & Lawrence

We’re thrilled to share that we found her: Cristelle Blackford is joining CivicMakers as Chief Engagement Officer! Cristelle has an impressive background, from her time as a planner and public involvement specialist at PMC/Michael Baker Intl., to her Master’s of Community Development from U.C. Davis, to the many years she spent at Google. Most importantly, she is a delightful person whom we know you will love as much as we do. Simply put, we couldn’t be happier to have Cristelle on board.

Principles, Values, Vision & Mission

In this moment of great cultural change, we want to be clear with our clients, our community and ourselves about our beliefs and the truths upon which they are built, so that we can set up a realistic plan to realize our vision. That’s why we’ve been spending extra time thinking about who we are, being intentional about the impact we want to make, and explicit about the values that will guide us there, particularly when challenging times lie ahead. Here’s where we’ve landed:

Our Principles

Humans are part of nature
All humans share the same needs for food, water, shelter, love, community
All humans experience suffering when basic needs are not met
All humans have the potential to learn, love and create
Humans are unique in our ability to ask questions, use tools to solve problems, and work together in diverse groups
Humanity requires the cooperation and active participation of people in their communities to survive

Our Values

We prioritize inclusion and equity
We listen actively and with empathy
We learn by doing
We are collaborative
We are transparent
We are hopeful

Our Vision

A world where every community has the tools necessary to co-create solutions to their shared challenges.

Our Mission

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

As our Mission states, in 2017 we are focussing on sharing educational resources, providing top notch service design consulting, and growing a community of practice for the civic innovation space. For the real organizational planning geeks and Type A’s out there, we’ve also laid out Goals and Objectives in a 2017 Strategic Plan.

OK, enough about us. Let’s talk about you. What do you think? What resonates with you? And what’s a total miss? We’d really love your feedback:

1) Complete this survey to give us input on what kind of events we should host in 2017, and/or 
2) Contact us to share your thoughts directly or talk about working together on a project.

Here’s to an inspiring and impactful year together!