The National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC) announced the winners of the Civic Data Challenge during an online Google Hangout celebration on December 4th. The Civic Data Challenge is a competition bringing teams of innovative tech, data and design experts together with local community leaders. These teams have created cutting-edge websites, apps, or data visualizations to strengthen civic participation. Visually played a small role in the judging of the entries, and we were very impressed with what we saw!
Participants began working in April with an Ideation Phase and then spent the summer building their entries. Seven finalists participated in the Implementation Phase, where they worked to pilot and improve their entries alongside community partners. The following winners proved the utility of their product and show great potential to make an impact in their community.
AnyTown USA Civic Vitality Diagnosis
Genevieve Borich, Huston Hedinger, Toby Craig, Grace Andrews, Jean Borich, and Lucie Anselin
The AnyTown, USA team developed a process that empowers local leaders to collaborate. They call this process AnyTown, USA Civic Vitality diagnosis. They have provided a how-to-manual for folks to do a deep-dive assessment of their own community and to map their civic leadership and interaction.
Heyu Xiong, Sehj Kashyapp, and Nitya Narasimhan
The SEVAK team worked with a community partner in Rochester, NY to learn more about the challenges of recruiting volunteers. Their entry includes both an analysis of volunteer data and a mobile application that connects volunteers with specific skill sets to local opportunities.
Civic Data Denver
Lydia Hooper, Cara Lynch, Andy Bardwell, and Erin Flynn
Civic Data Denver partnered with Earth Force to create an interactive visual that empowers youth to take civic action to address social and physical health issues in their community. Civic Data Denver’s website will be used by students and educators where Earth Force programming takes place.
DC Community Resource Directory Project
Greg Bloom, Ling Cheng, Sameer Siruguri, Justin Grimes, Susia Cambria, Natalie Kaplan, Tom Pollak, and Leah Bannon
The DC Community Resource Directory Project helps residents find health and social services referral information. It establishes ‘community resource data’ as a commons — cooperatively produced and managed by local stakeholders, and open to an ecosystem of applications and users. They are working with a core set of community anchor institutions, including Bread for the City, Martha’s Table, and Lutheran Social Services, to continue to develop their product and recruit partners.
The Manifesto Project
Courtney Klein, Michal Tyra, Mauro Whiteman, and Kristin Romaine
The Manifesto Project team asks the question: How does Arizona retain its young leaders? They collect civic health data from young Arizonans and leverage their findings to place these youth in positions of leadership to influence change. They are working to secure commitments from 100 organizations, corporations, and government bodies to open a board seat for a young leader.
Erin Brackney, Liz Darling, Debbie Moffett, Ari Turrentine, David Raybuck, Christopher Story, Alexandra McCullough, and Sonia Monga
The Texas Connector team from the OneStar Foundation conducted research to identify the challenges and needs of Texas’ nonprofit sector. They’ve found that there’s a pervasive absence of accurate data regarding nonprofit service providers and social and demographic community data. The Texas Connector increases access to community data, enabling stakeholders to more accurately assess community needs and respond. They are currently supporting 1,200 users from over 75 organizations.
Outline: State Budget Simulator
Nikita Bier, Jeremy Blalock, and Erik Hazzard
The Outline team seeks to provide citizens with tools to model, visualize, and evaluate government policies. They hope to democratize policymaking so the ordinary citizen has access to concrete data on policies, allowing them to shape the political discussion. Their Balanced State Budget Simulator tool allows citizens to assess public policy with the same understanding of the impacts as an economist. The team is currently working with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to test this tool. They are aiming to release it to the public in March 2014.
“The OpenData movement is amazing, Erik Hazzard from the winning team at Outline told us. “A myriad of free, public data exists on any topic imaginable. Translating the data into something you can interpret is the next problem, and part of the solution is data visualization. The Civic Data Challenge supports projects that increase understanding of a community, so entering it was the perfect opportunity for us.”
Outline uses open data and data visualization to enlighten public policies, Hazzard added, with the goal of helping people understand how policies impact not just them, but their community. “Supplying only data is not sufficient to produce deep insight; data are words on a page. Data visualization arranges the words to create a story. An understanding. With Outline, you can simulate how a change to income tax impacts you financially, but also how disadvantaged people are affected, or how your neighborhood is affected.”
We expect good things of all of the entrants, and we hope that the world is a better place as a result of their work.