Applying Theory of Change to Design Better Tech

May 8, 2018 · Brooklyn, United States of America

This workshop is part of Smart Cities New York 2018. Once you register to SCNY18, use the code you received in your confirmation email to register for any of our workshops. You cannot sign up for workshops without registering for Smart Cities New York 2018.


When the physical and digital intersect in the public space, it’s important for groups to understand the complex systems within which they are operating and what is at stake. There are many different approaches to addressing social issues, so how do you determine which approach makes the most sense for your organization? How do you ensure that every action you take, or feature that you design leads to its intended impact and contributes to the long-term change you wish to see - all while remaining flexible and experimental? This workshop will introduce methods for narrowing down key barriers to achieving realistic goals, where you or your organization should intervene in those barriers, how to do so, and what it will take to succeed.


Paramjot Kaur
Business Strategy & Partnerships Manager
Civic Hall
Paramjot Kaur is passionate about sustainability, corporate governance, and building partnerships in the social impact space. She is currently the Business Strategy & Partnerships Manager at Civic Hall where she focuses on growing the diverse civic tech community and cultivating relationships between startups, government agencies, and technology companies. Previously, she worked in microfinance at Accion East, where she teamed up with the lending department to offer affordable loan solutions for small businesses in NYC, and international trade promotion at the Chilean Trade Commission. She is a graduate of Columbia University and a Tamer Center for Social Enterprise Fellow. She’s fluent in Hindi, Punjabi, Spanish, and currently studying French and Portuguese.

Nicole Chi
Design & Partnerships Strategist
Civic Hall
Nicole Chi is a design and partnerships strategist who combines empathetic design principles with deep operational experience. At Civic Hall, she co-designed a pro bono tech program that helps nonprofits and technologists collaboratively design and implement technology for the public good. Prior, Nicole worked at Skaled and advised 30+ technology startups in building the processes, teams, and tech operations to scale rapidly and sustainably. Nicole has consulted for tech-enabled nonprofits such as Libraries Without Borders and Generation Enterprise, and led workshops in accelerators such as VentureOut and CivicXcel. She is a Humanity In Action fellow and graduate from Amherst College.

Savannah Badalich
Program Manager
Civic Hall
Savannah Badalich is a community organizer working at the intersection of human rights and technology. She is a program manager at Civic Hall and leads their civic accelerator program, CivicXcel. Her previous work centered on gender-based violence prevention. She worked at the forefront of the campus sexual assault movement and then for Breakthrough, a global human rights organization working on gender-based violence, where she managed their digital organizing strategy and action incubator project. Savannah attends Columbia University’s graduate program in human rights focusing on radicalization to white supremacy online. She also hosts a variety radio show called The Gay Agenda.

Mel Peterson

Mel Peterson is a program designer, community builder and systems nerd. She believes in human-centered, intentionally designed community building and cultivation as a highly effective way to foster collaboration and re-imagination (in)between different groups to build a more inclusive and healthy world. These ideas have been at the core of her work in program and organizational design, and community partnerships. She has spent the better part of her career focused on civic engagement as a channel for ideas exchange and creation. Most recently, she co-founded Delta.NYC, a program at Civic Hall Labs that tackles the challenge of building sustainable public interest tech by facilitating effective pro bono engagements between digital professionals and the public sector.

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