Event Recap: Civic Innovation Lab Launch

When Hub LA launched in September 2012, we had this question in mind: How can we accomplish real, substantive change as individuals, as the intersection of individuals, as organizations and businesses?

On Sunday, we saw change in action at the launch of Civic Innovation Lab. Civic Innovation Lab is a novel ten-month long community-driven solutions forum that aims to tackle issues plaguing Los Angeles using design challenges drawn from the city’s Open Data.

Participants gathered at Hub LA for Civic Innovation Lab Los Angeles launch on Sunday, September 14. Photograph from instagram user @ediekahulapereira.

Participants gathered at Hub LA for Civic Innovation Lab Los Angeles launch on Sunday, September 14. Photograph from instagram user @ediekahulapereira.

Conceived by Hub LA and Learn Do Share with founding partner LA City Controller’s Tech Bullpen and launch partners with innovateLA and Columbia University, Civic Innovation Lab is 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 should the Lab 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. L.A. 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.

Upon entering the Lab on Sunday morning, participants were asked to pin up their responses to the question “What issues do we feel the Lab should explore?”

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.

After participants in the Lab launch discussed city-wide issues, they brainstormed the different data we need to effectively make change .

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.

Learn about all of the phases of Civic Innovation Lab on the Lab’s website.

Sign up to be a part of the Data Discovery Process.

Participate in Learn Do Share Open Design Session in October to craft design challenges for the next phase of the Lab - Call for Solutions.

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