Civic Tech Image from Knight Foundation Report

Trends in Civic Tech

The Knight Foundation has just published an analysis of Civic Tech; The Emergence of Civic Tech: Investments in a Growing Field. The full report can be found on Slideshare.

Over the past few years, the Knight Foundation has seen a ‘groundswell of interest at the nexus of technology, civic innovation, open government and resident engagement’. The analysis identifies clusters of innovation and investment in the Civic Tech area. The Knight Foundation partnered with Quid, a company that specializes in data analytics and network analysis. This analysis is the first of its kind and the Knight Foundation admits that the report is not exhaustive.
The above figure is from page 6 of the report.  Titled Civic Tech: A Convergence of Fields, it illustrates the several Tech fields that are covered in the analysis.  Only those companies and projects that promote civic outcomes were used as the basis for the analysis.

The report is a summary of quite a lot of information. The detailed information used to develop the visualizations and analysis  is available on the Knight Foundation Website for those who wish to do their own analysis.

What follows is the Innovation Clusters that were developed in the course of the analysis and several of the findings that I found interesting from the report.   If you get a chance to study the report, let us and/or the Knight Foundation know what you think.

Innovation Clusters

Open Government

  1. Data Access & Transparency
  2. Data Utility
  3. Public Decision Making
  4. Resident Feedback
  5. Visualization & Mapping
  6. Voting

Community Action

  1. Civic Crowdfunding
  2. Community Organizing
  3. Information Crowdsourcing
  4. Neighborhood Forums
  5. Peer-to-Peer Sharing

Report Findings

  • From 2008 to 2012, the field of civic tech grew at an annual rate of 23%.
  • Community Action clusters are growing at a faster rate than those in Open Government.
  • Compared to the tech industry as a whole, civic tech organizations are relatively young.
  • While the number of grant investments and private investments was relatively even, the vast majority of total capital supporting civic tech came from private investments (84%).
  • Open Government innovation clusters are mostly supported through grant funding while Community Action clusters mostly attracted private capital.
  • Financial investors and individuals support a large share of Community Action investments and Foundations account for more than half of the number of investments in Open Government.