Over the course of 16 weeks City Departments and volunteer teams partner on a well-scoped, high-impact civic challenge that creates better outcomes for City staff and residents. Applications for civic challenges are due by Friday, September 13. Apply here.


Volunteer Model

While we are firm on the start and end date of the cohort (January to April) and expect a minimum commitment of 20% time across the 16 weeks, we strive to be flexible in terms of how volunteer teams allocate their time across those 16 weeks.

The Process


Source Projects: The Office of Civic Innovation sources civic challenges from City departments that have leadership support, dedicated resources and potential for impact

Matching: Departments are matched with a pro bono team

Onboarding Resources: Scoping workshops are facilitated to hand-off a detailed project brief and overview of lessons learned from past cohort

16-Week Accelerator

Discovery: Understand the challenge and government landscape

Design: Synthesize insights and create concepts for solutions

Delivery: Deliver actionable solutions and create an implementation roadmap


Share: Pro bono partners and City departments showcase learnings/process at Flash Talks and potential for impact at Demo Day 


City departments implement solutions and document impact

6 Month Share-Out: Departments report to private partners and City staff what has been accomplished since Demo Day

Types of Projects

User Research & Service Design

Focuses on understanding the end users of a government service or program; conducting user research, interviews, and/or journey mapping; and implementing user testing and/or service prototyping.  

Strategy Consulting & Facilitation

Focuses on developing a strategy for a Department or City Initiative; conducting stakeholder analysis and interviews; assessing the business case(s) behind specific interventions; and/or creating a roadmap for future work. Project may also include facilitation components, where external partners help organize workshops or meetings to convene stakeholders and/or decision makers. 

Data Analysis

Focuses on leveraging quantitative data to solve a particular challenge or need. Typical projects distill insights from multiple datasets or sources; develop data infrastructure, dashboards and/or visualizations; implement A/B tests based on quantitative feedback; and/or make recommendations based on analysis. 

Communications & Marketing

This type of project focuses on improving a Department or City Initiative’s outreach and communications. Specifically, this project type often tries to assess key audiences; the value of different engagement channels; and may implement pilot campaigns, communication initiatives or events strategies.

Learn more about the 2018 cohort here.

Background: San Francisco Travel Association photo