The CUTGroup is a community of nearly 1,500 residents in Chicago and all of Cook County who get paid to test websites and apps to help create better technology. In Chicago, we have reached people from all over the city-- all 50 wards, all 77 community areas. We continue to do outreach in Cook County to grow our diverse group of testers.
The premise is simple:
- Fill out a CUTGroup profile and sign up to be a tester, and we’ll send you a $5 VISA gift card
- If and when you are chosen for a test, you get paid a $20 VISA gift card
This is a flagship Smart Chicago program to establish sustained, meaningful collaboration with residents around data and technology.
The CUTGroup has generated lots of interest from other people interested in civic innovation across the country. Colleagues in Oakland and Chattanooga have started CUTGroup programs there. We wanted to write down our processes so that others could learn from our experiences. Once we did that, we realized we had a book, so we put it here. Download the book for free or pre-order a copy at Amazon.
Recent news about the CUTGroup
Complete results of CUTGroup Tests to Date
Or take a look at complete results of all CUTGroup tests.
Direct media inquiries to Sonja Marziano, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sonja Marziano runs the CUTGroup for Smart Chicago. We owe much to all of the people listed in our Acknowledgements, for all the reasons we reference in detail there.
Press: Finding “real people” to test civic technology
On their way out of the library at 8 p.m., O'Neil asked Kompare what he thought of the test. "A home run," Kompare replied. "The woman I was working with. Faaantastic. She gave me at least three (improvements) that are doable." Kompare said the app suggested the woman's son take the Cermak bus to school, but she told Kompare that wasn't an option because that route crossed through unsafe gang territory.
Press: Civic Hackers Want You: Group Offers Cash for App Testing
But Daniel X. O’Neil, co-founder of EveryBlock and executive director of the Smart Chicago Collaborative, says the current relationship between government agencies and coders is incomplete.
“[D]ozens of developers looking at each other in conference rooms over pizza is never going to lead to making lives better in Chicago without the active involvement of real residents expressing real needs and advocating for software that makes sense to them,” O’Neil wrote on his blog last month.
That’s why Smart Chicago is launching a “Civic User Testing Group,” to involve citizens from all over the city in testing, and eventually conceptualizing, new apps and tools. Participants will become the beta testers for developers looking for feedback on their latest work. Testers will both submit feedback through the group’s site and be a part of “mildly scientific” focus groups through the city, O’Neil says.