innovation Tag

Comptroller's Office employees, 1960. CC licensed by Seattle Municipal Archives

A People-Centered Approach to Innovation: Why Lab at DCA? Part 2

We take a people-centered approach to innovation here at Lab at DCA. A key objective of the Lab is to develop a community of knowers and doers. People ask me: How do we keep up with the changes of technology? My answer echoes with the Lab’s pedagogical purpose to share knowledge and practices because that is how we respond to our changing work ecology. The social moment for this collaborative ethos is now, as the civic (tech) energy bubbles up from the community.


In the previous post, I discussed how government is a complex, hierarchical, and siloed institution and offered reasons for a civic staff digital literacy program as a workforce development intervention. To continue, in this final post, I elucidate the value of resilience in government innovation practices. Seeing the deficiencies of the common “problem-solving” approach, I lay out the components of our inquiry-driven design process. I end with a final note about how government should take cues from the civic tech community to embrace experimentation and collaborative thinking and making.



Summer Exhibition. Featherstone Kite by Rowland Emet at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. Photo by Elliot Brown. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Digital Literacy for Civic Staff: Why Lab at DCA? Part 1

It’s been nine months since Mayor Garcetti unveiled the City of Los Angeles Open Data website. Nationally, the Obama administration launched the federal data-sharing site in 2009. Sharing data to increase transparency and accountability of government has become a new platform of democracy. The flurry of apps created by civically minded developers and designers has grown into efforts organized by government partnerships, some with the non-profit sector (notably Code for America, and locally, Hack for LA) and others with the private sector.


In this shifting economic and technological landscape, what role should civic staff play? How do civic staffers continue to meet the demands of their daily work while managing the imperative to adapt to new technical modalities of work? How could technology not only facilitate the civic workflow but also inspire ethical reflections of civic work?