This week in CivicWise

Happy weekend everyone!

While Summer finally sets in and most people start to think about BBQ, sun and holidays, we have been pretty busy bees so there you go, the roundup of what happened this week.

During the hangout we discussed about the first draft of our Principles chart, which you can see here. It’s a work in progress and we aim to work on it until next Wednesday in order to have develop the final copy by the end of next hangout. Take a look at it, share your thoughts and any improvement idea on Discourse.

The topic spontaneously arose during the hangout as well. There are two main news on this.

The first one is that we decided to define four different roles in the CivicWise community according to the level of involvement: friend, member, civicwiser and civicwiser executive we know, this one sounds terribly corporate but we run out of creativity for the name. Any ideas for a better one?! To find out more about what each role means, check the CW role matrix here.

Both civicwiser roles will be subject to meeting certain commitment requirements, which means that there will be an initial expression of willingness to overtake the role. During this ‘incubation period’, the person will be considered a ‘candidate’ and will be required to contribute to different activities within the community. You can see the detailed description of them in the role matrix. We will publish a form for those interested in becoming a civicwiser soon; in the meantime you can already start thinking about your ideal role and share it with us in the comment section.

The second news is that we polished off the definition of circles vs projects. Over time we realised that people were getting confused about geographic circles, governance circle, magazine circle, project circles etc. and we came up with three simple clusters.

There are two types of circles: the geographic ones and the thematic one. Geographic circles are all the one defined by the countries (CW France, CW Italy, CW Spain, etc.) or cities (CW London, CW Paris, CW Bogota, etc.). Thematic circles are created around a topic rather then a location. Think about them as a group of people working on a specific topic. Examples can be magazine circle, tech circle, urban apps circle, street design circle, etc. Another type of thematic circle, is an existing organisation that wants to join the CivicWise community. In this case you will have the ‘name-of-the-organisation’ circle.

Every circle requires someone to take care of the welcoming (be the first point of contact for anyone interested in the circle, welcome new members, answer queries, etc.), communication (social media, emails, etc.) and general coordination (make sure that the circle’s activities run smoothly and stuff gets done). Ideally these three tasks will be split between different people to minimise the burden but obviously in a small circle, one person can be responsible for all of them.

Different circles together form a community, regardless whether it’s a group of geographic circles, thematic ones, or a mix of the two. All of them will be under the umbrella – no superstition here while the sun is out! – of the CivicWise community.

This means that projects now specifically defines the participatory urban projects supported by the CivicWise community.

We took on board the feedbacks on the first draft of the Projects toolkit and looked back at the 10 steps of our Civic Design Method. The result is a 3-stages process (THINK – DO – ROLL), which is available here. The explanation of it is up on Discourse, where you can also comment and suggest improvements. We want to get this done and over by the end of the month, so hurry up and have your say!

During the week we got the outcome of two competitions we applied for, the ECF Idea Camp and the Designing the Urban Commons. Unfortunately we were not successful in either of them. Sigh. It’s a pity, but that actually made us realise that it is probably too early to apply for competitions given the little evidence of impact we can show so far. This should motivate us to work harder on defining our identity (principles) setting up the organisation (governance) and finding the first projects to work with (method).

To do this efficiently and fast, we need your help so click on the links, take a look of the drafts and share what you think. A collaborative effort is the best way to succeed!

Have a great weekend

Civicwise presentation at Urbanistas London

Last Wednesday we had the pleasure to present Civicwise at the Urbanistas London.

Urbanistas is a women-led network empowering collaborative people to act and do “urban” in more social ways.

Very much like Civicwise, Urbanistas work is based on collaborating, sharing and positive actions that help make everyday life better in cities for everyone.

The presentation was followed by a very insightful conversation about Civicwise next steps of the project and in particular what is the best legal form for the organisation, which will be the topic of our next Hangout.

Thanks Urbanistas for hosting us and the all the wonderful women in the room for their ideas and advises!

Update on CivicWise development and governance

This week we had a special global hangout dedicated to update on CivicWise development and governance.

Following the minute of the session:

What is the civic design method?

is the starting point of the CivicWise adventure.
We have started to apply it to develop Civicwise itself, but haven’t yet used it in action in public spaces.

The current status of the method is applying it to the Planning stage.
The initial plan was to apply the method to develop the Civicwise platform to implement it by September. Now it seems that we should start applying it to a practical project

Rita asked:
Is technology the only way to solve engagement in the community?
Should we wait for the digital structure before implementing the civic design method?

Suggestion by Noel to use a practical project to test the civic design method by carrying out the engagement protocol for Civicwisers in their cities to use it to listen to local communities, document the insights of the issues, assets & motivations of the communities as well as how well the method was used

Fausto is working on the engagement protocol and planning a training session to learn it
Fausto and Line are identifying a neighbourhood where Civicwise London circle can apply the protocol.

People find it better to start with identity than governance.
Developing the methods and principles can help shape the identity.

Suggestion by Domenico for local circles to identify neighbourhoods where they can listen to the community, share the insights and how well the methods work


We decided to start fostering the Circles work.
(this part about Circles is added by Domenico Di Siena editing the minute to give more details, even if we haven’t talked about them during the hangout)
We have so far three different kind of circles: Local Circle, Topic Circle and Project Circle. Each circle is independent and autonomous.
Local Circles are not exclusive and representative of a specific territory, we have to understand them more as another important local stakeholder. As a result we can have more local circles in the same city or territory. Local Circles work independently and autonomously but they must not work in competition.
Topic Circles and Project Circles are representative y exclusive which means that we couldn’t have more circles for the same topic or the same project.

Is really important that the topic circles start to work autonomously and we will use the weekly session to update the rest of community about them. Each circle can use the Discourse platform, but should feel free to organise their own Hangouts.
Topic Circles can include governance, civic engagement method, principles, technology. etc…

we are using different platform with different aims: Google Drive, Slack, Discourse, Blog, Newsletter.

We are using Google Drive folder to share documents and using the same taxonomy to describe the different elements of the CivicWise process, irrespective of the platform we use.

We are using Slack for executive and real time communication. Slack is exclusively for CivicWisers that filled this form.

We are using Discourse as our main Debate and Discussion platform. Discourse is public and everyone even if is not CivicWIser can use it.

We are using the newsletter to update by mail our community about our development and project.

We are using the blog to update publicly our community about our development and project.

Structure for weekly session
1 hour for topic of the week
Rest of the hour to catch up with the rest of the circles
Get people to feedback what their group has done, what they’re going to do next and what’s blocking them
Use peer coaching method

Next week’s focus: PRINCIPLES

We need to unite the principles with their implications
Suggestion for people to put forward principles they think CivicWise should adopt, but ensure they describe not just the principles, but associated behaviours this would involve, the implications it would have on people and on the support that CivicWise could provide to help people adopt principles.

Suggestion to use Andrea’s catalogue/spreadsheet
Get people to propose
Tools/strategies that CivicWise should have/represent/do to support/guarantee that the principles are met.



Need advice on how to process money transfers and how to enable mediation between Civicwise and projects regarding financeNeed to articulate the question and then look for advice