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The Civic Agility Project: Toward a Vibrant Sustainable Prosperity (for All) (Together)

What can cities and communities learn from 20-30 years of agile experimentation in software teams and other enterprises?

WORKING NOTES (links/detail forthcoming)

Starting Points

Listening is not just for leadership anymore. But that’s where in must start:

It’s not enough for government to “listen” in order to inform centralized decision-making. Complex, organic, emergent community solutions require leaders to MODEL listening and invite everyone in the community to follow that lead. Civic transformation requires that everyone is talking with everyone. Everyone is thinking, sharing, listening and being heard. Emergent solutions are messy at first, but ultimately more effective, durable and scalable. Focus on removing obstacles that prevent different kinds of people from coming together to create solutions that work for all.

Transparency is just the beginning. We need to follow it with:

Some of the sectors/issues/needs CA can address:

Core Practices for Inviting Agility

Some of What CA Achieves

CA Course Development



Deep Dives

Resources Library


Case Stories

Inc Dev Alliance Experimenting

Previous Experiments

Civic Agility Network (CAN) - Working Canvas Framework

EcoSystem? Frame

System Frame

Primary Value List (Portfolio)

Community Summits Series (draft framework/template)

  1. Who = All. How to invite them? (effectively, actively, consciously, explicitly)
  2. Vibrant Sustainable Prosperity (for All) Together - define the experience: what is this place and what should it be? Environmental context: climate, geog, geology, demo, regulatory, history, political, culture, economy and how that emerged/emerges as built environment? How does built environment shape local experience?
  3. Built Environment - issues and opps for shaping and reshaping for vibrant sustainable prosperity for all. what are the rules and what should they be? what are the possibilities/potentials and how to realize? consider... zoning and other rules (e.g. funding) for open space (land/sky/waterways), mixed use, residential, commercial, infrastructure, art, others.
  4. Mine and sort proceedings => populate matrix/canvas
  1. Charter and connect teams around specific projects/purposes, establish canvas/cadence/practices
  2. Optional: convert canvas to kanban with swimlanes

A New Kind of Mayoral Task Force

An alternative to the usual sort of Mayor’s task force - a whole-system working summit with ALL of the people, organizations, sectors needed to make a fast and lasting impact on the issue. See InvitingLeadershipGuide?

Theme: Affordable Housing Now: Issues and Opportunities (for instance)

Invitation: a short letter/email might include a few lines about some or all of the following:

Invitation List: might include people from the following groups, as a beginning

Logistical considerations

What will happen?

Other Ideas/Questions?

Emergency Food - can we visualize/agilize the ongoing, incremental need for food donations for use in one/more programs serving meals to homeless/hungry people, to engage the whole community in the collection/delivery more of the right kinds of food, in the right combinations, at the locations and times that serve the cooks/servers best?

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Last edited January 9, 2020 10:31 am CentralTimeUSA by MichaelHerman
© 1998-2020 Michael Herman and www.michaelherman.com, unless signed by another author or organization. Please do not reprint or distribute for commercial purposes without permission and full attribution, including web address and this copyright notice. Permission has always been granted gladly to those who contact me and say something about themselves, their work, and their use of these materials. Thank you and good luck! - Michael