OpenOakland was formed by people with a desire to build a community that can leverage modern tools and technology to transform our city. Part of the reason we created OpenOakland, initially as a Code for America Brigade, was to connect local hackers with civic issues and city staff to work together to build tools and services that lower barriers for all to improve Oakland.  We’ve grown as an organization into a civic innovation nonprofit and we recently laid down our organizational values.

Our Organizational Values

  • We believe all Oaklanders’ ideas, skills and experiences can benefit our city when applied to civic challenges.
  • We believe technology is an enabler and is far less important than the change it can support when used effectively.
  • We are nonpartisan and do not endorse candidates for elected office.
  • We provide a bridge between government and communities and work to make government more accessible to all.
  • We are hackers for good – we experiment, we build, we push boundaries to discover better ways to do things.
  • We work in the open, producing open source technology that others can use freely to improve their community also.
  • We prize diversity amongst our members, our leaders, and our stakeholders.
  • We work to maintain an environment where all people are respected.

Our Approach

  • We openly collaborate with others seeking to improve our city for all.
  • We design with those we seek to serve rather than designing for them.
  • We value human-centered design and always consider technology to be secondary to the real needs of people using the technology.
  • We prefer to partner early with our stakeholders rather than to build support after a project is launched.
  • We work using agile methods- we experiment, build fast, learn and adapt rather than assume we know the perfect solution to begin with.
  • We use technology to help bring about equitable social change.

On Government

  • We think government in Oakland must truly be by the people, of the people and for the people in the 21st Century.
  • We believe government itself must be capable of change in order to meet the rapidly changing needs of our diverse society.
  • We believe government is a powerful engine of change and we value and respect public service while simultaneously working to improve and update our city government.
  • We believe an open government more truly represents our democratic ideal and is a government that is more responsive, less corrupt and more accessible to the community.
  • We believe transparency is the best antidote to change-averse bureaucracy.
  • We believe our city will be stronger with more opportunities for Oaklanders to participate in our civic society and when government better engages all communities.