This talk explores the results of research conducted over the past year by the Google Civic Innovation team.
The research includes a joint qualitative and quantitative study for understanding “Interested Bystanders,” or that portion of the population that is paying attention to the world around them, but not regularly voicing their opinions or taking action.
As applied research, this work sought to 1) inform the design of civic-related products and services at Google and 2) be of actionable value across the civic technology community more broadly. In reporting what we learned, we also have attempted to share how we learned it, and offer a case study for the use of human-centered research to inform civic interventions.
Kate is a researcher, strategist, and facilitator working to transform civic life in America. In pursuit of a society where more people assert greater ownership over the decisions that govern their lives, she uses ethnographic tools to design products, policies, and services that enable a more equitable democratic future. During her fellowship with the Berkman Center, Kate will explore two topics: 21st century girlhood, and Americans' awareness of their government's presence in their lives.
With full research support from Google’s Civic Innovation portfolio, Kate just finished traveling across the United States to ascertain what motivates everyday Americans to take civic actions and what holds them back. The goal of this research is to understand how we have become a nation of interested bystanders, and what can be done to nudge everyday people to take small actions that could radically transform the fabric of civic participation. The findings are being used to inform the design of civic products and services at Google, and will be shared with the civic tech ecosystem publicly, likely later this year.
Kate is best known for her applied research on how citizens use technology. Earlier this year, Kate led a discovery and design process on behalf of Personal Democracy Media to investigate and envision a new center for civic innovation in New York City. In spring of 2013, she led a first-of-its-kind ethnographic investigation into American elections, assessing the human motivations, technological systems, and institutional landscapes that define elections administration at the most local levels. This year, the non-profit, non-partisan civic startup TurboVote is prototyping with elections officials a series of tools whose specifications flow directly from the findings, in order to effect a wholesale re-visioning of the voter experience by 2016. Kate also spent time in the U.S. Department of State and at Google Ideas, exploring how technology might be used to improve judicial outcomes.
Prior to her graduate education, Kate built a career in problem-solving justice and mediation. Working with the Center for Court Innovation around New York City, she shepherded a multi-stakeholder task force on prison reentry in Harlem and developed meaningful community service initiatives for the Bronx Criminal Court. She also mediated over 150 conflicts through youth court and conflict resolution programs.
Kate is a graduate of Columbia University. She holds a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and an MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management. She serves as a member of the Harlem Justice Corps Community Advisory Board and is also an alumna of the AmeriCorps National Service Program.