New: The Launch of the CUTGroup Book

The CUTGroup Book is here.

The CUTGroup Book is here.

Smart Chicago is a civic organization devoted to improving lives in Chicago through technology. We work on increasing access to the Internet, improving skills for using Internet, and developing meaningful products from data that measurably contribute to the quality of life of residents in our region and beyond.

We are a startup that was founded in part by our municipal government and nurtured by some of its most venerable institutions. Our founding partners are the City of Chicago, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and The Chicago Community Trust. As a funding collaborative, we help bring together municipal, philanthropic, and corporate investments in civic innovation.

We have a host of current projects and partnerships, and we are actively seeking to connect ideas and resources in all areas of philanthropy in Chicago.

City of Chicago Launches OpenData ETL Utility Kit

The City of Chicago’s Department of Innovation and Technology released the OpenData ETL Utility Kit at the Code for America Summit this morning. The ETL Utility Toolkit will give cities the same tools Chicago uses to get data from their own internal systems and unto their data portals.

Chicago River South Branch from the Cityscape Bar

Photo by Chris Smith Photography

We’ll explain why this is such a big deal and what ETL is below the fold!


Brigade Training: Leveling up Your Civic Hacking Event by Christopher Whitaker

Editor’s Note: Today, Smart Chicago Consultant and Brigade Regional Coordinator Christopher Whitaker will be giving a training on how to level up your civic hacking event. Christopher is one of the co-hosts of the nationally renowned Chicago OpenGov Hack Night as well as running a number of events for Smart Chicago including Chicago’s National Day of Civic Hacking.  We’ve put his slides and training notes below the fold.

OpenGov Hack Night 1/21/13


The Launch of the CUTGroup Book

Today we’re launching a website and book, The CUTGroup Book,  http://www.cutgroupbook.org/, centered around propagating the components, tools, and methods of our Civic User Testing Group (CUTGroup) program.

The CUTGroup is a set of regular Chicago residents who get paid to test civic apps. We started the program in February 2013 and it has grown to include 800 people. We’ve learned a lot and we want to share.

We cover the hardware and software you need, methods for tester and developer recruitment, test design, location scouting, and results analysis. We show detailed budgets, exact website configurations, complete text of recruitment emails, the raw results of every test we’ve conducted, and all the other nuts and bolts it takes to make a CUTGroup in your city.

You can download a PDF of the book for free or order it as a real book on Amazon. Also read about the contributions of dozens of people who made this thing happen.


All hail the people of CUTGroup!