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Reports March 14th, 2023
Cities • Innovation

The Opportunity Project for Cities sprint toolkit: A guide for community-driven innovation sprints in local governments

About the sprint toolkit

This toolkit was compiled to support the Opportunity Project for Cities (TOPC) program, a 22-week innovation sprint through which local governments work with community and tech partners to develop open-source tools that leverage data to address pressing local challenges.  

The Centre for Public Impact and the Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University partnered to launch the TOPC program and have developed this toolkit to document guidance based on pilot sprints conducted in San José, CA, and Saint Paul, MN, followed by a second sprint that included Macon County, GA, Miami Dade County, FL, Long Beach, CA and Detroit, MI and a third sprint that featured Macon County, GA, Miami Dade County, FL, and Detroit, MI alongside newcomer Akron, OH.

This toolkit is a living document that will capture best practices from the ongoing TOPC program. The TOPC program was developed with generous support and guidance from the Knight Foundation and Google.org. The TOPC program was based on The Opportunity Project (TOP), which was created by Census Open Innovation Labs in 2016. This toolkit was designed for local governments as a companion to the TOPx Toolkit for federal agencies. This toolkit was initially written by Katya Abazajian, Katie Stenclik, and Andrea Mirviss, and the latest version includes contributions from Rebecca Ierardo, Harold Moore, Elham Ali, and Tahmid Islam. It was originally released on August 19, 2021, under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license and should be cited as: “TOPC sprint toolkit: a guide for community-driven innovation sprints in cities” (2021). Washington, D.C.

Purpose and goals

This toolkit is a resource for people working in and with local governments and community-based organizations to use public data in digital tools that address pressing local challenges while building participants’ skills for tech, design, and data use. TOPC brings together technologists, public servants, and community organizations to prototype local data solutions to meet real community needs. Read more about the latest iteration of TOPC in Macon County, GA, Miami Dade County, FL, Akron, OH, and Detroit, MI, in our 2023 sprint report, The Opportunity Project for Cities: Lessons from Detroit, Akron, Macon-Bibb, and Miami-Dade.

While CPI and the Beeck Center provided hands-on support to local governments to run complete TOPC sprints, this toolkit allows anyone to replicate the TOPC model independently. By following the guidance in this toolkit, participants can: 

  • Find meaningful applications for local data to tackle community needs;

  • Identify new models of collaboration with community partners and technologists through civic innovation and

  • Learn ways to leverage human-centered design for public interest technology.

The sprint is designed to lead participants through an inclusive and collaborative process to design technology that centers residents’ needs and priorities. Cross-sector relationships can supercharge innovation efforts when using public data and public interest technology and are most impactful when community members are active and engaged stakeholders in the work. Delivering equity through public systems requires incorporating the voices and needs of community members in civic innovation. 

Even if you cannot replicate an entire TOPC sprint, you can adapt the milestones, tasks, and resources in this toolkit to design your own innovation sprint to co-create digital tools that serve your community. Anyone can use the lessons from this toolkit. Before you start, we suggest reviewing the TOPx Toolkit Glossary to familiarize yourself with key terms.

How to use this toolkit

Who can use this?

  • IT, data, and innovation experts in government or working with governments;

  • Technologists working on public interest tech tools built from open government data;

  • Community organizations partnering on government innovation projects;

  • Tech-interested government staff; and

  • Public policymakers and decision-makers. 

Note: The templates and guidance contained within this toolkit are designed predominantly for government practitioners, but we encourage community organizations and others who partner with government practitioners to leverage and adapt them to lead their own TOPC sprints.

What’s included?

  • Milestones to help you structure a TOPC sprint;

  • Step-by-step instructions for executing your sprint;

  • Tips and best practices; and

  • Resources from our TOPC curriculum.

What will you learn?

By the end of this sprint, you will have co-created a tech tool prototype, or an early model intended to be a proof of concept, that can meet the needs of your city/county. This sprint is the first step in integrating your prototype into impactful innovation goals over time. 

Along the way, you’ll develop skills in: 

  • Human-centered design methods to incorporate community input and lived experience into tech and policy design; 

  • Strategies to identify impactful ways to use local data;

  • Cross-sector collaboration with people from tech, government, community spaces and

  • Product development workflows that serve the public interest.

A core element of the TOPC model is investing in community relationships and leveraging data and technology for more equitable outcomes. By running a TOPC sprint, you’ll develop stronger, more collaborative relationships with community leaders and residents. These relationships will help inform tools that are designed with the direct participation of the residents they serve and address real community needs.

Tips and tricks 

To get your team started, consider these tips for overall sprint management. TOPC sprints can create fast-paced opportunities to build momentum around new ideas and applications of open data, but they can also be challenging for those who are new to civic innovation. 

These tips can help you create a more seamless and engaging sprint for your participants. Read more about what makes a successful sprint in our 2023 sprint report, The Opportunity Project for Cities: Lessons from Detroit, Akron,, Macon-Bibb, and Miami-Dade

  1. Be flexible about “data.” Local governments won’t always have the exact data that users ask for or need. Data can be any form of structured information, so think big about what constitutes data and how you can use the sprint process to improve the quality of data that is being used in digital tools.

  2. Your team matters. Over the course of the sprint, you’ll engage with technologists and government leaders from your city, community partners, and external stakeholders like technologists and vendors. Building a coherent team matters. Consider teaming exercises that help establish trust, shared purpose, and clear delineation of roles and deliverables early for a transparent, efficient process.

  3. Define the impact and evaluation of the problem space early and often. A clear impact statement in a sprint provides a clear focus and actively involves participants in integrating equity into every process, output, and outcome. This can be both narrative in terms of the story but also the metrics. Consider what you want your residents or government workers to say when your project is successful and what that might mean for data that you can track, i.e., usage of the tool, time engaged on a website, reductions in incomplete applications, or an increase in engagement, etc.

  4. Don’t let “perfect” be the enemy of “good.” The first solution is rarely the right one. This project is about building a prototype, and you’ll have limited time to complete it. The time pressure can help you get an initial product out, and by making iterative improvements to the product over time, you can pave the way for longer-term success.

  5. Lose the jargon. Sprint teams should be made up of people from different sectors, but this means that jargon and other industry language may not be known to everyone. Ensure that your sprint team has ways to call out jargon and use more accessible language. Developing and nurturing a shared language is an essential element to enhance communication and collaboration when working with diverse teams who may all have their own internal language. Technologists communicate differently from legislators; people who work with community members may communicate differently from people who see community members as clients or customers. Constant awareness and education (think training and documentation) are required to maintain the shared language.

  6. Recognize the importance of project management and facilitation. The sprint has many moving parts and diverse stakeholders from varying backgrounds who bring their own goals, personalities, and skills to the process. Leveraging these unique skills while working towards a common vision for the sprint requires deft project management. Bring in expert project managers who can help form a cohesive team that empowers city/county, community, and tech partners to drive towards milestones in their area of expertise and meaningfully contribute to each sprint phase. Further, tap into expert facilitators for user research, research synthesis sessions, or other important sprint team workshops throughout the sprint. Project management and facilitation are not universal skills; getting the work environment right is essential to ensuring the sprint moves forward.

  7. Iterate! The sprint model is intended to be an iterative or phased approach where future work builds on previous efforts and learnings. Try to be realistic about your capacity and resources. Give yourself opportunities to complete smaller chunks of your bigger task that may reveal feedback, learnings, and roadblocks that might affect the next necessary steps.

  8. Prioritize community voices. Organizations often can have strategies and plans that influence how and why public interest tech gets built. Pay attention to community members when they push back on the goals of institutions and organizations, seek to understand their interests, and try to adapt accordingly. Partnering with community organizations that residents trust is one way to ensure the voices of those closest to the problem are prioritized. Providing funds or resources to support community partners’ involvement can ensure they can fully engage with the sprint—and is just good practice.

  9. Recognize funding needs and get buy-in from the start. Sustaining public interest in tech projects requires funding to continue improving and support from leaders to iterate upon initial projects. Successful public interest tech requires collecting feedback and making systemic improvements over time, which requires funding.

  10. Hold off on finalizing solutions; don’t be afraid to shift course. Agile and iterative development means there will be changes throughout the project. Your sprint team shouldn’t know what solution they’re building until after community research is done. The best-case scenario is that your prototype changes significantly over the sprint to adapt to new findings and deliver more meaningful outcomes aligned with community needs.

  11. Products need owners. Product owners ensure products have what they need to grow and evolve over time. At a minimum, products will need edits, updates, and regular maintenance, while some products may require additional funding for software licenses or data storage. Without product owners, products end up with bugs or outdated information or simply do not meet community needs. A product owner doesn’t need to be the most tech-savvy person; rather, they need to be someone committed to keeping your product up to date, available, and relevant to your community.

  12. If people don’t hear about your tool, they can’t use it. You worked hard to develop your product - share that success with your community! Consider creative ways to introduce your community to your product. You might write a blog post, publish something in a local media outlet, or host a demo at a local event. Remember, this product is brand new to your audience - share how you worked with the community to understand their needs and develop and test your product. Consider also sharing ways you plan to continue to engage your community in the product’s future. A go-to-market plan may help you consider the whole of an outreach effort.

Planning a TOPC sprint

Use this outline to map out your TOPC sprint week by week. Feel free to stack some of the tasks to occur concurrently or to tailor these to the makeup of your team, spending more and less time on an area based on your available resources. A TOPC sprint is typically 20 weeks long, which does not include the pre-work conducted in Phase 0. 

Phase zero: pre-launch

In the months before the sprint's official start, prepare by engaging key stakeholders for support and alignment with government and community policies. Focus on assembling and integrating your sprint team through team-building exercises for meaningful cross-sector collaboration.  

  1. Set up a cross-functional city/county team

  • Share the TOPC model and onboard executive champions into the project. Use resources like this toolkit, the report, and other resources about the TOPC model to ensure stakeholders understand the project and its goals. 

  • Establish regular touchpoints with city/county leaders and key decision-makers to involve them as advocates for your project and ensure they provide ongoing support and deblock any challenges.

  • Use the roles and responsibilities resource to identify the appropriate participants to include in the team. As facilitators of the TOPC sprint, the city/county team needs to set internal roles before seeking out sprint participants, including additional city/county staff, community partners, and tech partners. 

  • Use the RACI template to assign roles and responsibilities for all team members. Engaging the right people at the right times is essential to making inclusive decisions, gaining buy-in from key partners, and keeping the sprint progressing.

  1. Define a problem area and project charter

  • Determine the problem area. Try to define a problem that is smaller than a general issue area (like “housing”) but larger than a specific challenge you already know about (like “difficulty accessing assistance”). A right-sized problem area leaves room for research to expose challenges but provides a clear direction for investigation.  

  • Assess strategic plans of all major stakeholders. Look at the city/county and community partners’ strategic plans and identify salient issues with broad support and opportunities for tech improvement.

  • Look for areas with a clear mandate from the city/county or community perspective. Has someone already identified an issue and or a solution? Is there momentum toward working on a specific issue?

  • Complete the problem focus area template. Share them widely and ensure that anyone who might benefit from your work knows and supports the project. This activity may also help ensure resources, staff, and funding contribute to sustaining and improving the product after the sprint.   

  1. Recruit and onboard community and tech partners

  • Make a list of potential community partners based on local organizations that directly serve residents, engage residents as members of their organization, or have working relationships with other community organizations. Find a community partner with direct ties to community members, prioritizes equity, and is willing to provide substantive input on user research and product design.

  • Make a list of potential tech partners based on partners who will be able to lead development in the sprint, integrate community input into their work, and account for the longevity and sustainability of the product they build so that city/county and community teams can later support the products on their own. At a minimum, tech teams should be staffed with UX researchers, designers, program managers, engineers, and product managers.

  • Once your partners are onboarded, set up team norms, communications, and meeting structures. Share materials about the TOPC sprint, including this toolkit, the TOPC report, and other relevant websites or onboarding materials.

  1. Define the impact and evaluation statement

  • Set clear goals and success metrics to guide your team and ensure sprint efforts align with the project's intended outcomes. You can use a logic model for the impact evaluation worksheet activity. It will serve as an anchor for your team when defining the right problem and the right solution and gives a tangible artifact to explain what your project is to someone not involved in the Sprint.

  • The activity is designed to promote creative and analytical thinking in planning and evaluating community projects by helping teams envision the potential impact of a product from start to long-term outcomes.

  • A logic model visually represents the relationship between resources, activities, outputs, and expected impacts of a project to facilitate discussions and brainstorming to better anticipate and plan for project outcomes.

  1. Start sustainability planning

  • Work with the product owner to complete the product sustainability checklist to ensure they have the tech capacity, funding sources, and data linkages they need to keep the product running.

  • Hiring staff to support improvements to the prototype is the best way to ensure that prototypes are improved and integrated with broader strategic goals in the future.

RESOURCES

Phase one: define and understand the problem

In this phase, you’ll conduct interviews and desk research to determine what your community needs from public data or technology. You will also identify what data this project needs and create a data inventory of the data you have available to use in your product. Using power-sharing and creative facilitation techniques, you will interview people with lived experiences navigating the problem area you’ve selected and find opportunities for data to make their lives easier. It’s important to keep an open mind and remember that iterative learning is a core part of this process. Expect your ideas and understanding of the problem to change.

  1. Launch user research 

    This section should be led by a research team that can focus and collaborate on completing user research.

    A. Review research and understand the landscape

    • Review existing research or speak to the impacted community, who can tell you how the problem area works, what major barriers exist, and how people generally navigate challenges. Have city/county and community teams present what they know to the sprint team so that tech teams and other stakeholders are up to speed with institutional knowledge. This may include presenting existing research on user journeys and known barriers.

    • Conduct a landscape scan of existing solutions that address the problem area that your team is attempting to tackle. Speak to technologists who have attempted to solve this problem before.

    B. Interview stakeholders and potential users

    • Set research questions that will expose new information about how data and technology play a role in the problem area in your user interviews. Ex. “Who’s working on this problem? What data do they need? Why do they need it? How do residents use data to address or navigate this problem?”

    • Conduct stakeholder mapping to identify which stakeholders are doing work related to your chosen problem area. Listing out these stakeholders or mapping them by influence and interest can help to identify who to interview for user research. Stakeholders can often connect you to other members of their trusted networks, like residents with lived experience.

    • Create a plan to safeguard interviewees’s personally protected information. Deidentify and anonymize interviewee names from interview insights and communicate to interviewees how their information will be protected.

    • Define a compensation plan to compensate participants for their plan

    • Create an outreach list that includes potential end-users or people with direct experience with your problem area. Begin conducting interviews to map the residents' journey when dealing with your problem area. Pay particular attention to specific barriers and their location within the journey. Identify how data and information play a role in navigating that journey.

    C. Document observations and insights

    • Conduct synthesis sessions to collate the user research and begin documenting user observations about data-specific challenges and technical needs. Try connecting things people say in interviews to data sources that you have available.

    • Use whatever framework you like best (sticky notes, asynchronous brainstorming, interview tagging) to identify major themes from your workshops and isolate key insights. Highlight themes or insights that are associated with a high concentration of observations about data or information challenges; these might be particularly impactful to address with a technical solution. 

    • Include a part of your synthesis workshop that explores how people need solutions. What features matter to people dealing with this challenge?

    D. Refine your understanding of the problem

    • Create a more detailed problem statement that is relevant to your problem area. A problem statement is a specific element of your chosen problem area that exposes the challenge your future tool will try to solve. The problem statement should clearly identify who is affected by the challenge and why it matters to your community. You should also try to avoid including an answer to the problem within your problem statement.

  2. Conduct a data inventory and assess quality

    This section should be led by a data team that can focus on compiling relevant data, assessing its quality, and preparing it for use.

  • Create a list of data systems with information relevant to the selected problem area. Liaise with owners of those data systems, including looking across departments and jurisdictions to build new relationships with data owners. The list of data systems does not need to be complete to be helpful!

  • Create a list of datasets, or a data inventory that includes which system data is contained in and other relevant metadata. Share the data inventory with sprint teams and ensure that data in the inventory is accessible and usable. Consider that the data you list here should connect to your problem-understanding research and be used to determine which solution you ultimately pursue in the next phase connects to the data you list here.

  • Review your data inventory and identify data that maps to the problem statement. Any data that was highlighted by user interviews can be considered high-value data.

  • Beware of data silos (or interdepartmental data sharing issues). Consider what data you might need and not currently have access to. If you can’t easily get access to that data, what options do you have? Is the issue timing? Privacy? Can you replicate the data through surveying or another method?

  • Improve data that is not high-quality by working with data owners to process and analyze raw datasets, focusing on improving high-value data. This often takes time, resources, and data processing expertise. Raw data, or data that is in its original, uncurated form, is the best data to work with when possible.

  • Investigate any needs to protect sensitive data. Make plans to protect personally identifiable information if any exists, and work directly with project leaders, including the product owner if one exists, and data owners to ensure that data protections are written into data and product governance.

  1. Brainstorm and prioritize solutions

  • Work with sprint participants to think creatively about how you might address the problem statement identified in the synthesis stage. Don’t be afraid to take a few turns at brainstorming solutions and vetting them with city/county or community leaders to assess viability.

  • Connect available data to proposed solutions by noting where research participants noted a need for improved access to information or increased government transparency. Give additional weight to solutions that make use of high-quality, available, high-value data that residents request.

  • Prioritize solutions by feasibility and potential impact. Think about feasibility as the likelihood of your sprint team being able to execute this solution in your allotted time. Ask yourself questions like: Does this tool require data, resources, or buy-in from people not currently involved in this sprint? Does this solution require us to work at maximum capacity for an extended period of time? See the attached resources for examples. Consider which community partners might support the tool, and count this under feasibility. Spending more time in this phase ensures a more impactful product later on.

  • Consider using a product requirements document post-research to synthesize what your interviews and research say are the most important functions and features of your tool and what will and will not be a part of your Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

  • Decide as a team which solutions are most feasible and impactful. Actively seek input from community partners and their constituents to decide whether solutions fit the community challenges within the constraints of the sprint process. Be sure to share final ideas with senior leadership and sponsors early on for initial feedback.

RESOURCES

Midpoint review

Pause mid-project with your team to assess progress against your team's goals and impact evaluation statement. Strategize for the project's long-term sustainability to make sure the community team your team is developing can scale and last into the future. Important questions to answer might be: 

  • Who owns improvements to the prototype after the sprint?

  • How will these improvements get funded?

  • What might be the short-, medium-, and long-term impact of the tool?

  • What do we need to set in motion now to have that impact?

  1. Conduct an impact evaluation workshop

  • Ask your team to articulate exactly what the expected impact of this work is. Then review the impact evaluation template (deck and facilitation notes here) and consider how your expectations match reality. Evaluate the inputs, activities, outputs, outcomes, and impacts associated with your project.

  • Engage stakeholders to review your impact evaluation plan. Sharing an impact evaluation plan is a helpful way to let key stakeholders know what to expect and build buy-in for the future. Possible stakeholders could include executive champions not directly involved in your sprint or community leaders affiliated with your community partner organization.

  • Plan for impact evaluation in the future. Identify outcome and impact metrics that measure the role of your tool on equity measures and the effects it has on people’s experiences.

  1. Confirm product owner(s) and identify funding 

  • Identify a product owner who can liaise with tech experts, delegate improvement tasks, report to leaders, and define the strategic direction of the work. This doesn’t have to be a technologist, but they should be well-versed in communicating with tech workers.

  • Prototypes need investment to survive. Plan ahead to identify funding streams associated with existing initiatives, upcoming grant opportunities, or even revenue streams that might sustain the tool’s use.

  1. Start sustainability planning

  • Work with the product owner to complete the product sustainability checklist to ensure they have the tech capacity, funding sources, and data linkages they need to keep the product running.

  • Hiring staff to support improvements to the prototype is the best way to ensure that prototypes are improved and integrated with broader strategic goals in the future.

RESOURCES

Phase two: design and prototype

In this phase, you’ll start building your prototype! You will prioritize requirements, key features, and elements of a successful tool with your sprint team. You will co-design and test with participants from your community to co-create features and validate if your hypotheses are correct or not. This phase will help you adapt your prototype to users’ needs. Incorporating transparency into your work and integrating well-defined pathways for community and stakeholder feedback can improve the quality of your final product.

  1. Build wireframes or initial prototypes

  • Using everything you learned in the problem understanding phase, work with the tech team to co-design wireframes that prioritize users’ preferred ways to access information or data. Be sure to consider the accessibility needs of the population.

  • Begin noting where data linkages will be needed to ensure that data flowing through the prototype is updated automatically and with any necessary quality checks. Pull data owners into conversations as needed to validate expectations about data linkages.

  1. Conduct user tests

  • Work with your community partner to organize user tests made up of target users for the product. Note: beneficiaries of the product and target users might be different groups! Think about who will actually be using the product and speak directly to them.

  • Use best practices from Civic User Testing (CUT) group models to ensure that sessions are designed to be inclusive and engaging to participating community members.

  • Consider varying formats for how and when you test. Handouts might be great for one audience, whereas a very stripped-down demo that people can click around might be good for others.

  • Compensating users participating in tests for their time based on the recommendations of local community organizations and service providers is a best practice that shows appreciation for the time and contributions of your testers and encourages participation.

  1. Build the final Minimum Viable Product (MVP) 

  • Work closely with community partners and target users to integrate user feedback into the final MVP and set up data linkages that will make the prototype work.

  • Liaise with data owners who are contributing data to the product to ensure that data will be stored appropriately in city/county or community partner data systems and revisit data protection needs identified in Phase 1. Ensure that workflows exist to update the data regularly and that relevant data owners are read into their responsibilities with regard to the product’s maintenance to keep it up-to-date and accurate.

  • Conduct any final feedback sessions to ensure that final designs are aligned with the expectations of all stakeholders and team members. Prioritize feedback from community partners and adjust the course depending on their expressed needs.

RESOURCES

Phase three: product launch

Time to launch your product! Let the world see what you’ve created. Remember that this is just the first step toward longer-term solutions that can make a difference in your community. Use this prototype as a foot in the door to building bigger and better things.

  1. Demonstrate the MVP

  • Communicate the definition of an MVP to any key stakeholders and sprint participants to ensure that your collaborators understand the role of an MVP. Ensure that they understand the benefits and shortcomings of the tool and how it might improve over time, with the right support from stakeholders.

  • Share your product with anyone who has helped you along the way! Use this as an opportunity to open up a dialogue with community members and share how and why you built this prototype. Consider hosting a “Demo Day,” an event where you publicly launch and showcase your product to your community. A Demo Day guide is included to show you what goes into planning Demo Day during TOPC 2023.

  1. Launch and collect feedback

  • Create permanent channels for users to submit feedback about the tool. This might be adding a comment form, providing contact information for the product owner, creating usability guides for open-source documentation, and more.

  • Continue incorporating feedback into the tool's design and hand off recommendations to the product owner. This may be done via a product roadmap or by doing updates at regular intervals where the product owner reviews and sorts the feedback.

  1. Plan for long-term sustainability and iteration

  • Work across city/county and community teams to chart a path toward product sustainability, including identifying funding streams and decision-making about the tool’s future.

  • Identify which tech team participants will be available to support tech transitions. Ensure you have a plan for hosting the tool and sharing access to adapt source code.

  • Develop a sustainability memo highlighting key takeaways, including ownership, funding streams, community partners/programs, and high-level strategic goals. Share this memo with your partners and key stakeholders!

  • Consider your impact and evaluation metrics from earlier. Do they need revisions? Has your user testing revealed that your solution is helping solve the issue people had? Discovering new issues or impacts?

RESOURCES

Post-sprint

Now that you’ve launched the first prototype of your product, you can start working with your team to make sure the product can continue to grow and change over time. In this phase, you may need to work with a wider range of stakeholders to ensure your product has a long-term home and consistent resourcing.

  1. Explore ways to support product ownership

  • If your sprint team’s product owner is still getting the hang of product ownership or if you need more time to build a consistent product development pipeline, take time after your sprint to work through what capacity you need to support your prototype from a product management perspective moving forward.

  • Make plans to hire people with product management or development skills once you’ve completed the sprint so that you’re able to bridge any skills gaps required post-sprint.

  • Explore the possibility of hiring contractors to continue iterating and improving on the prototype you’ve built, but make sure they are working with the intention of building on your community research and keeping community members involved in product improvements over time.

  1.  Review procurement needs

  • Once you assess your product and product owners' needs, you may need to procure additional staff or resources. Begin involving procurement professionals in your conversations about planning for the future development of your prototype.

  • Explore funding opportunities that might help you prepare to procure software or talent to help keep your tool alive, and start planning for the future by connecting funds to potential future iterations of your tool. Research parallel costs for similar work with governments in other places and explore whether there are contractors your city/county already works with or could work with in the future that are appropriate for your budget.

  1. Identify marketing needs

  • While a well-designed product can attract users organically, you’ll likely need to invest in communicating your work and launching your product with prospective users. Work with marketing and communications professionals to give your product a public boost and acquire a base of users who can benefit from your tool. 

  • Begin by making a marketing plan in the weeks or months after your sprint, and include opportunities for community members to inform improvements to future iterations of the product by working to create opportunities for public feedback after launch.

RESOURCES

The comprehensive TOPC sprint checklist

Need to fast-track your way through a TOPC sprint? Use the resources below to hit major milestones while prioritizing essential elements of the sprint, like community participation in co-designing your prototype These resources are designed for government practitioners, but community partners can adapt and use them as well.

  1. Review the TOPC toolkit and learn the sprint curriculum

  2. Start building a core team using our roles and responsibilities worksheet 

  3. Select a community partner using these selection criteria 

  4. Select a tech partner based on their agreement to the sprint prototype criteria

  5. (If needed) Sign partnership agreements with your community and tech partners

  6. Select a problem focus area for your sprint by completing this template

  7. Complete this RACI matrix with your team to stay organized across stakeholders

  8. Practice filling out an impact evaluation template and create an impact evaluation plan

  9. Define the short, medium, and long-term impact in a logic model

  10. Data team: Begin the data inventory template and complete the data inventory

  11. Research team: Begin the user research plan template and complete the user research

  12. Synthesize data and research with our synthesis, ideation, and prioritization facilitation guide for virtual or in-person cross-functional teams  

  13. (If needed) Update your problem statement based on synthesis results

  14. (If needed) Create a Production Requirements Document that outlines what will be built, in what order and what is in and out of scope

  15. Choose a prototype based on best alignment with data, feasibility, and impact for residents most affected by the problem

  16. Describe your selected prototype and have your tech partners begin development

  17. Assign a product owner to manage the product after the sprint has concluded

  18. Product owner: Begin completing the sustainability checklist

  19. (If needed) Revisit your RACI matrix to include development roles and responsibilities

  20. Test your prototype by following our user testing guide. Manage the user testing process with a template sign-up sheet and tracker

  21. Prepare to demo the first version of your prototype with our Demo Day prep package

  22. Finalize and launch your MVP with resident feedback

  23. Huddle with your team to plan for product management, marketing, and procurement moving forward after the sprint! Plan changes with ongoing resident feedback in mind.

Contributing organizations:

  • At the Centre for Public Impact, we believe in the potential of government to bring about better outcomes for people. Yet, we have found that the systems, structures, and processes of government today are often not set up to respond to the complex challenges we face as a society. That’s why we have an emerging vision to reimagine government so that it works for everyone.

    A global not-for-profit organization founded by the Boston Consulting Group, we act as a learning partner for governments, public servants, and the diverse network of changemakers who are leading the charge to reimagine government. We work with them to hold space to collectively make sense of the complex challenges we face and drive meaningful change through learning and experimentation.

  • The Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University reimagines systems for public impact using design, data, and technology. Beeck Center projects test new ways for public and private institutions to leverage data and analytics, digital technologies, and service design to help more people.

  • Knight Foundation are social investors who support a more effective democracy by funding free expression and journalism, arts and culture in community, research in areas of media and democracy, and in the success of American cities and towns where the Knight brothers once published newspapers. Learn more at KF.org.

  • Google.org brings the best of Google to help solve some of humanity’s biggest challenges — combining funding, innovation, and technical expertise to support underserved communities and provide opportunity for everyone.

https://www.centreforpublicimpact.org/assets/icons/study-light-idea.png

Lessons from Akron, Detroit, Macon-Bibb, and Miami-Dade

Read the TOPC companion report, which includes case studies, insights for local governments, and TOPC best practices.

Read the report