On Sunday, we saw change in action at the launch of Civic Innovation Lab. Civic Innovation Lab is a novel community-driven solutions forum that aims to tackle issues plaguing Los Angeles using design challenges drawn from the city’s Open Data.
Conceived by founding partners LA City Controller’s Tech Bullpen, Hub LA, and Learn Do Share, and launch partners innovateLA and LA2050, Civic Innovation Lab pilots a new model of citizen engagement with local government.
On Sunday – yes, Sunday – over 150 people came to Hub LA for the launch of the Lab. In this first phase, Sunday’s participants engaged in a discussion about city-wide challenges by discussing the question, “What issues do you feel the Lab should explore?”
The room was filled with a diverse set of Angelenos, representing a multitude of industries and causes and spanning generations, neighborhoods, and social groups. Many representatives from the local government participated and observed the action taking place. LA City Controller Ron Galperin, Deputy Mayor for Budget and Innovation Rick Cole, and the City’s newly appointed Chief Data Officer Abhi Nemani addressed the group, all recognizing the special moment in Los Angeles’s history that Civic Innovation Lab is seizing.
In small, rotating groups of 5-10 people, we heard a breadth of concerns and interests — energy use to transportation improvements, connecting citizens with government more easily, using technology to make arts and cultural events more visible, expanding wifi access across the city, and more. The list goes on and includes a berth of fantastic ideas that, once addressed through the Lab, will improve communities and neighborhoods across LA. We know, we’ve got our work cut out for us.
Ideating was just the beginning. A tenet of Civic Innovation Lab is a commitment to drive change not just by generating great ideas, but by backing those ideas with the droves of data made readily available to the public by our city. As such, Sunday’s launch not only focused on the issues that matter to us, but also on what data we can use to solve them.
Next steps of the Lab include Data Discovery, in which a small, working group will synthesize, analyze, and communicate the results from the launch alongside the data made available by the City. The group’s analysis will lay the foundation for the Learn Do Share Open Design Session from October 10-12. We’re so excited to share all of what we know will be amazing ideas and products that can impact our communities and neighborhoods in positive ways.