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What problem can we help you solve today?

Problem | Solution | Done.

When the next disaster hits will you be ready?

Sadly, natural disasters are taking an increasing toll on communities everywhere. Fortunately, open source disaster response tools are helping to level the playing field.

We have multiple open source solutions to improve disaster response and recovery that stand ready to help when the next disaster hits.

Healthcare spending in America is growing at an alarming rate while health outcomes are barely improving and in some cases actually declining.

We offer a suite of open source tools that help communities better focus their public health efforts and significantly improve outcomes and ROI’s.

The innovation economy is quickly becoming a tale of two cities: Those that embrace it and those that don’t.

The maker movement is at the heart of this renaissance and initiatives like makerspaces, hackathons, and Maker Faires are very effective at building the organic, grassroots community that allows the innovation economy to thrive.

We are experts at launching these initiatives and are available to help you bring them to your community.

About Civic Ninjas

We are technologists, developers, designers, thinkers, entrepreneurs, tinkerers, and makers – all ordinary folks just doing our part.
We are part community, part organization, part business but we are mostly a group of like-minded folks working to make a difference.

We celebrate what works and work to fix what doesn’t driven by an underlying belief that community makes the world possible.

Our Focus

We are focused on entrepreneurship, the maker movement and civic technology because they are transformative movements that are democratizing how we live, work and play.
We see these movements as not only things that work, but more importantly things that can make huge differences in people’s lives, opportunities and communities.

Our Secret Sauce

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We connect people by starting conversations that make the world a smaller place.
We inspire community by producing engaging transformative events.
We create solutions by developing code and other tools that solve problems.

As Civic Technologists we see a massive disconnect between citizens and government. The resulting us versus them mind-set undermines possibility and limits opportunity. We are focused on bridging this divide by using technology to build community, increase civic engagement, and ultimately better connect citizens with government. We believe it is easy to see the ultimate impact civic technology can have when you view it in three steps; give citizens transparency, give citizens a voice, then give citizens ownership.

As makers, we see the Maker Movement as an opportunity to reinvent, reprioritize and reinvigorate how we shape the world. Much of the world consists of consumers who are mainly focused on acquiring things. In contrast, makers are producers who are shaping and transforming the world around them by solving problems, creating value and disrupting the status quo. Not long ago, a movement of this nature would have been impossible but today, we have the tools, technology and opportunity for anyone to be a maker. Makers are inventing our future and we believe the more makers we have the better our future will be.
As entrepreneurs, we see the impossible as possible. There is no greater force than the power of entrepreneurship to transform the world around us. We believe that building an organic, grassroots community around entrepreneurship is one of the fastest ways to democratize access, inspire participation and improve lives. In the last few years, the face of entrepreneurship has completely changed. Advancements in technology are putting the power of producing unimaginable innovation in the hands of the every-man and reducing the time, cost and knowledge required to pursue the next big idea. This is why we believe supporting and encouraging entrepreneurship wherever possible is core to the Civic Ninjas mission.

Our Solutions

Below is a selection of some of our more transformative solutions. All of our solutions are similar in their intent to address government, community or municipal challenges through technology but differ in development and implementation. Additionally, all of our solutions are open sourced under a creative commons license making them freely available to individuals and communities everywhere.

Some of our solutions were inspired by partners who reached out to us with a challenge or opportunity they faced in their efforts to improve lives and outcomes in their communities. Other solutions were directly inspired by “pain points” we, as Civic Ninjas, experienced in either conducting our daily lives or trying to fullfill our own mission to improve communities.

Problem: Many communities are poorly prepared for disasters and governments are struggling to keep up. To make matters worse, our growing dependence on iPhones and other electronic devices has changed how we must think about disaster response. Communities now need to answer, “How will survivors charge electronic devices in the wake of a disaster?

Solution: Citizen Power Brigade

Problem: Spending on healthcare in America is growing at an alarming rate but health outcomes are barely improving. The problem is that we are looking at the wrong end of the health challenge. Healthcare is a very expensive tool used mostly after a health problem. But what are the conditions and inputs that caused that problem in the first place? And what if we could stop that problem before it happens?

Solution: HealthAround.Me
Problem: In an emergency seconds count. For fire fighters, mobile mapping tools and other technologies can carve precious seconds off response times. Unfortunately, a majority of fire dispatch systems in America are well over 25 years old and cash strapped municipalities simply do not have the money to upgrade them. How can we augment these legacy systems and provide citizens best possible care without breaking the bank?
Solution: FirePi Dispatch
Problem: In a disaster, Urban Search & Rescue (US&R) personnel have to work in extremely tough conditions, often working at night in unfamiliar areas with no light, power, visible landmarks or even street signs for navigation. To add to the pressure, any mistakes can cost people their lives. How can technology be used to improve disaster response and allow US&R personnel to work faster and more efficiently?
Solution: Open Search Map

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world.

Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

- Margaret Mead

“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”

― Jane Goodall

“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”

– Albert Einstein

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

– Richard Buckminster Fuller

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

- Theodor Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss

“The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”

― Steve Jobs

Our Community Services

Events

From conferences to hackathons, fireside chats to Maker Faires, Ignite Talks to Startup Weekends and everything in between our Ninjas have produced some incredible events. We stand ready to help produce these transformative inspiring events in your community.

Community Building

We are available to help you strategically look at your community building needs. Some of these services include needs assessments, stakeholder mapping, asset mapping and other related services. Whatever your community building goal, we stand ready to help.

Workshops & Training

We produce/facilitate workshops and training related to our mission. Some of the topics we cover include: Innovation & Community Building, Civic Technology 101, Maker Movement 101, Entrepreneurship 101, Human Centered Design and Design Thinking.

Our Technology Services

At Civic Ninjas, we believe that the availability of technology services is a critical component in the continued growth and acceptance of open source civic technology. Not every municipality has the time or in house resources to support this technology stack so we have developed a comprehensive suite of services to augment available municipal resources.

Install, Configure, Integrate, Support

Our ICIS Officers are deployed either remotely or on-site to provide install, configure, integrate and support services to municipalities that require services unique to their situation. IT infrastructure varies significantly from city to city, and integration with legacy municipal systems present unique challenges.

Make It So!

Not everyone has staff that can readily fork a GitHub repository, configure a VM, spin-up a database instance and then SSH into a server. We have turnkey solutions to deploy many open source civic software solutions in the cloud. We want to make your deployment of these projects as easy as saying, “Make it so!”.

Help Desk/Support

Help desk/support services are critical to the mainstream adoption of open source civic technology. We offer tiered support for many applications. These services also include automated trouble ticket support, remote call center support, and remote and on-site training.

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

– Richard Buckminster Fuller

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

- Theodor Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss

“The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”

― Steve Jobs

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world.

Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

- Margaret Mead

“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”

― Jane Goodall

“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”

– Albert Einstein

Our Programs

Ninjas

Our Ninja Program is central to our existence. We have developed tools and techniques to help us identify civic technologists, makers, community builders and entrepreneurs that are doing great things. Our Ninja Program is our way to recognize and thank them for their amazing efforts.

Corps Cities

As the Civic Ninjas footprint expands, we are identifying cities with both a growing number of Ninjas and a local commitment to our organization. These cities will be designated as Civic Ninja Corps Cities. In these cities we will provide various resources and infrastructure to support local initiatives.

Ninja Dojos

In some of our Corps Cities we are setting up Civic Ninja Dojos. These spaces function as both office space for our Ninjas as well as co-working/maker/community/event space for the community at large. We also make our Dojos available to host community events free of charge.

Our Friends

Friends

Our Stories

White House Demo Day

We are excited to share that Civic Ninjas has been invited to the White House Innovation for Disaster Response and Recovery Initiative Demo Day. The White House media advisory on this event reads as follows: WASHINGTON, DC – On Tuesday, July 29, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the National Security Council, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate will co-host an event bringing together technologists, entrepreneurs, and members of the disaster response community to highlight innovations by the public and private sectors that will improve disaster response and recovery. The White House Innovation for Disaster Response and Recovery Initiative was launched in the wake of Hurricane Sandy to identify the most effective ways that technology can empower survivors; first responders; and local, state, and Federal government with critical information and resources. The event will include remarks by Obama Administration officials and representatives from the public and private sectors. Further details include: Civic Ninjas is highlighting the Shining Light Project, a wearable device for emergency responder credentialing and disaster access control. The device has color-coded LEDs that indicate whether an emergency responder is allowed into an area based on geo-fenced GPS information. The Shining Light device uses Bluetooth Low Energy to tether to smart devices running a native app for real time device control. In addition to perimeter access control, the device can also show search grid locations and provide time-based go/no go signaling for personnel needing to cycle back to their Base of Operations. Similar in concept to Apple’s iBeacon, the Shining Light Project hopes to emerge... read more

HealthAround.Me: Project Update

This post is part of a series of posts about our HealthAround.Me project funded by the Knight Foundation through their Prototype Fund. Initial Project Goal – Build an open source, web based, geo-enabled health data mapping & visualization tool to aggregate disparate public health data from multiple sources and make it cool for everyday folks to experience that data in a locally meaningful way. Revised Project Goal – Build an open source, web based, geo-enabled health data platform/API including a location specific take action database and couple that platform with some proof of concept prototype front ends for specific use cases including real estate, healthcare, journalism, personal health, and community health/engagement. Our Approach: 1)      Understand the Opportunity - One of the things that made this project unique is that we are not health experts, in fact if you consider how much pizza, soda and beer we consume and how little sleep we get, we are probably about as far from health experts as you can get. But we are open data and open source experts with diverse experience creating very innovative software solutions. So the combination gave us a very unique perspective. The world of health and healthcare is a huge complex labyrinth, so we made it a priority to better understand the real opportunity beyond just saying, “Wouldn’t it be cool if…?” Much of our work to understand the opportunity focused on human centered design(HCD) techniques. We conducted a stakeholder mapping exercise. We spoke with all kinds of folks about this opportunity including physicians, public health officials, demographers, elected officials and community leaders. We created an assortment of... read more

Why aren’t people shouting about this from their rooftops?

America is facing some daunting health challenges. Spending on healthcare is growing at an alarming rate while health outcomes are barely improving and in some cases actually declining.  A recent study even shows that life expectancy for women has declined in 43 percent of U.S. counties. Thanks to our HealthAround.Me project, I now know that one of the biggest reasons we are seeing diminished returns from our growing healthcare spending is that improving health outcomes is more about improving health than improving healthcare. If we stop and think about it, healthcare is a very expensive tool that gets mostly used to try to get things back on track after a health disaster. But what are the conditions and inputs that put that disaster in motion in the first place? And what if we could stop that disaster before it happens? If a section of railroad track kept causing trains to derail we would probably not design special equipment to speed up putting the trains back on the track, we would figure out what was causing the derailment in the first place and work to fix that. Perhaps we would redesign the layout of the track or maybe we would just educate train conductors to slow down on that section of track. The same idea holds for health outcomes. We need to give people, communities and governments the tools to identify where health derailments are happening, the knowledge to understand why they are happening and the ability to prevent or minimize these derailments in the future. If we stay on our existing course of increased spending to get things back... read more

News Challenge: Health

The Knight Foundation’s News Challenge: Health What do you know about the health around you? Probably not a whole lot when you really think about it. And have you ever really thought about it? Again, the answer is probably not. In the era of web 2.0 and smartphones, we like to think that we have instant access to whatever data we need around us. We can pull out our phones and find the nearest coffee shop or look at stats from the game last night or even see real-time traffic updates on a virtual map but, as of now, we have no means of seeing health statistics specific to our immediate geolocation without wading through thousands of lines of data scattered around the web. Our app aims to answer the simple question: “What’s the health like around me?” But why would someone ask this question? What does it mean and how do we even begin to answer it? To find out, check out the link below to our project proposal for The Knight Foundation’s News Challenge: Health!... read more

Code Across 2014

Civic Ninjas was proud to be a part of Code for America’s Code Across day of Civic Hacking which took place on the weekend of February 21st at the University of Tulsa. The event was organized through Civic Ninjas, TU’s Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the Code for Tulsa movement and was one of the 30+ corresponding events that took place around the world organized by Code for America. Check out the great article linked below from our friends at the Tulsa World.... read more

Civic Ninjas Selected for Prototype Fund

Great news here at Civic Ninjas! We just found out that the Knight Foundation has selected our project for a Prototype Fund. The Prototype Fund will give us a chance to look further into the potential of a health mapping data visualization tool and work on an alpha version of an app that will map health data for Northeastern Oklahoma. We are honored to be one of the nine projects out of over 600 that the Knight Foundation selected to receive a startup fund and we are excited about the potential behind this for Civic Ninjas and for making health data easily accessible to everyone.... read more

What problem can we help you solve today?

(or just tell us something about yourself and ways you would like to help us)

Problem | Solution | Done.

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