CivX Method

Research & Prototyping

Research and development is a long journey. Ultimately most R&D aims to perfect a deliverable before it's released. That's not what we do. 

CivX is a Research and Prototyping (R&P) program. We help our partners bridge the feasibility gap around a critical question for their organization. It's the first phase of moving their organization or community forward. Rather than pretending that a 5 or 10-day project can be final word, we help our partners accelerate decision-making and clarify choices. Our method enables our partners to identify:

  • What's at Play
  • What's Possible
  • What's Promising

While many organizations ask if we can solve "the whole problem," we can't--though we are interested in long term partnerships. Instead we use research and prototyping to quickly generate actionable insights and solutions. Our partner organizations then use those deliverables to move forward in a way they couldn't have done otherwise.

Social Science + Design Thinking

While CivX is a creative endeavor our process is highly structured. The CivX method combines the best of design thinking and design sprints with the analytical rigor of social science. We started with the sprint framework popularized by Google Ventures (GV) and used with its portfolio companies. GV is exceptionally generous with its process and recently published a book on their lessons. With the 5-day sprint format as a starting point, we reengineered some elements to suit our needs.

We incorporated alternative design thinking approaches during the prototyping days and most importantly, added two days of deep social science research at the beginning of the project. We then finished each research and design sprint with a validation study to confirm if our prototypes have promise to the partner organization.

Our typical 5-day project now includes:

  • 2 days of Research Internal and External to the Partner
  • 2 days of Prototyping and Design
  • A Validation Study

We actively experiment with our design process and research approach. In the near future, we will publish more about our process and lessons learned in the spirit of open source ideas.