A Civic Technologist's Practice Guide

paperback, 168 pages

Published Sept. 17, 2020 by Five Seven Five Books.

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5 stars (3 reviews)

I’ve put every single thing I know about civic tech into this little book. It’s both an onboarding guide and a survival manual, and I hope it will be useful to the field. It outlines the types of projects, partnerships, and people that civic technologists encounter, and the methods we can use to make lasting change. I focus on principles and sets of questions to help technologists find the right way to do the most good, starting with finding the people already doing the work. There’s also practical advice on how to build alliances with public-sector partners, what tech (and non-tech) skill sets are most useful, and how to show up in spaces dedicated to stewardship rather than profit. And my best tips from experience on how to introduce new methods and tools, and how to connect with others in the field and work sustainably on hard problems.

In collaboration …

1 edition

useful, insightful manual for folks interested in working on/interested in civic tech

4 stars

Cyd Harrell has worked in 'civic tech' for awhile, in many different capacities—at Code for America, a non-profit working with government (and my current employer); as Chief of Staff at 18F, the federal government's in-house consulting wing; now with the California courts; and more.

with this book she's written the guide that I think every person newly working with government should be handed before onboarding/starting a project. I think it's also useful for folks trying to understand what "civic tech" is, where they might fit in (as someone who builds technology or not), a brief account of its history and how it's changed to become more inclusive (less open data, more equity-focused and to be user/community-driven), and different ways to engage (career, contract, volunteer, etc).

and, just for context, though the book gives an honest assessment of the path and shortcomings of the civic tech movement, it's very much a …

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5 stars