DemocracyLab is a nonprofit organization connecting people to create online tools that help communities work through the problem lifecycle:


As a group we agree on how to frame an issue

  • Identify the Problem
  • Get the Facts
  • Define Success


Once the issue is well defined we explore many ways of solving it

  • Gain Understanding
  • Brainstorm Solutions
  • Optimize Alternatives


After deliberation, we decide on our best option

  • Establish Process
  • Inform & Engage
  • Vote


And try it

  • Plan
  • Gather Resources
  • Execute


As a group, we observe our results and reframe as necessary

  • Document Process
  • Measure Results
  • Assess Outcomes
  • Identify the Problem:

    • Is the problem worth solving?
    • Are the causes clear?
    • Who are the stakeholders?
  • Get the Facts:

    • What data is available?
    • What are stakeholders’ objectives?
    • Who has authority to act?
  • Define Success:

    • What are time and resource constraints?
    • What can realistically be accomplished?
    • Competition, compromise, or consensus?
  • Gain Understanding:

    • Are perspectives articulated?
    • Is history understood?
    • Has future been considered?
  • Brainstorm Solutions:

    • Who participates?
    • How to encourage creative expression?
    • How to identify best thinking?
  • Optimize Alternatives:

    • Have tradeoffs been considered?
    • Can ideas be synthesized?
    • How can likelihood of success be maximized?
  • Establish Process:

    • Is decision context understood?
    • Is the role of the participant clear?
    • Has threshold for action been set?
  • Inform and Engage:

    • How to encourage participation?
    • How to support learning?
    • How to facilitate civil discourse?
  • Vote:

    • Who, when, where, how?
    • How are votes counted?
    • How is integrity of process maintained?
  • Plan:

    • What is path to success?
    • What constraints should be recognized?
    • What contingencies need consideration?
  • Gather Resources:

    • Who needs to be involved?
    • What assets are required?
    • Is resource lifecycle understood?
  • Execute:

    • Is leadership structure clear?
    • Is team invested in outcome?
    • Are participants acting at highest competency?
  • Document Process

    • What went as expected?
    • What was unanticipated?
    • Were timeline and budget met?
  • Measure Results:

    • Is timeline for impact understood?
    • How are results best quantified?
    • Is measurement of results unbiased?
  • Assess Outcomes:

    • Did action achieve intended objectives?
    • Is cost-benefit analysis favorable?
    • Is the problem solved, or is reframing necessary?
DemocracyLab is a gathering place for users, developers and supporters of civic tech. Join our community and identify your role below to get started.
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