Playbooks and Design Principles

Playbooks and collections of design principles give us an opportunity to codify and abstract the way in which we work to help others understand, adapt, and replicate on their own.

Martin Wright at mySociety wrote this helpful definition of playbooks:

What is a playbook?

‘Playbook’ is a word that’s used a lot these days, by tech and management people. They’ve borrowed it from the world of sports, where the idea of a book telling you ‘how to play’ is a more straightforwardly obvious concept.

If you find this terminology a bit too hipster, though, you can think of them by the less trendy terms of ‘manuals’ or ‘toolkits’ — though a playbook does have the advantage of sounding like a lot more fun than a workbook.

Whatever the name, what they aim to give you is a collection of repeatable plans and tactics for responding to typical challenges. As such, they can be absolutely invaluable as an internal company tool; and we think they can also help in sharing knowledge between organisations.

In either case, a well-managed playbook would be easily available to employees, widely used and regularly updated.

Civic Innovation School

Civic Innovation School is an International Extitution structured as a Distributed Network that promotes Collaborative Learning Environments focused on Civic Innovation, Collective Intelligence, Open Design, Civic Engagement.

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Civic tech patterns

In the spirit of Wikipatterns, this is a collection of patterns and anti-patterns for describing common practices that may help or hinder the conception or design of your civic technology.

Government Design Systems

A list of design systems and CSS frameworks used by governments around the world

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A strategy for urban data

(PDF) How to develop collaborative data projects – for citizens, urban innovators, researchers and policy makers

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The Future of Cities handbook

Our conversations illuminated how cities are using innovation and technology to drive impact against the most pressing challenges to achieve better outcomes for residents.

Digital Transparency in the Public Realm

This project seeks to facilitate the co-creation of prototypes that can advance digital transparency and enable agency in the world's public spaces.


The Democratic Principles for an Open Internet have been primarily designed for citizens and civil society organizations in fragile and emerging democracies, who are new to the digital rights space, are beginning to engage more regularly online, and who may be more likely to encounter deliberate internet disruptions as a result of government interference.


The Open Internet for Democracy Playbook serves as a companion piece to the Democratic Principles for an Open Internet, which is a framework for understanding what principles must be upheld in order for the internet to foster democracy.

Open Internet for Democracy

The Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), the National Democratic Institute (NDI), and the Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA) are facilitating an initiative to identify and promote internet norms and principles essential to democratic governance.

Humane by Design

A resource that provides guidance for designing ethically humane digital products through patterns focused on user well-being.

Principles for Digital Development

Nine “living” guidelines designed to help digital development practitioners integrate established best practices into technology-enabled programs.

Civic Design Method

A compilation of reflections, tools and methodologies with the capacity to program and activate Collective Intelligence processes with impact on the Territory.

Discovery Sprints

A “discovery sprint,” is a short, intense period of problem investigation.

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Principles for government service design

Lou Downe, Director of Design and Service Standards for the UK Government opens #ServicesWeek 2019

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Eines per a una transformació digital oberta i àgil

El programa per a la Digitalització Oberta: Programari Lliure i Desenvolupament Àgil de Serveis de l’Ajuntament de Barcelona defineix el procés de canvi profund i progressiu de la manera en que la ciutat oferirà els seus serveis a la ciutadania en els propers anys.

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Smart Colombus Playbook

As the winner of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Smart City Challenge, we’ve been offered a unique opportunity: $50 million in grant funding from the USDOT and Paul G. Allen Philanthropies to discover how we can accelerate human progress through open mobility.

Civic Tech Data & Collaborative framework

Communities should cultivate and draw on their capacity to use data and technology to benefit residents with the fewest resources.

The ODI’s Open Standards for Data Guidebook

Open standards for data are reusable agreements that make it easier for people and organisations to publish, access, share and use better quality data. This guidebook helps people and organisations create, develop and adopt open standards for data.

Government of South Australia Digital Transformation Toolkits

To assist agencies to modernise and transform their government services, the Department of the Premier and Cabinet has developed these four toolkits.

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The Open Data Handbook

Guides, case studies and resources for government & civil society on the "what, why & how" of open data.

OECD Digital Government Toolkit

This toolkit is designed to help you implement the OECD Recommendation on Digital Government Strategies.

Civic Tech Patterns

common patterns and anti-patterns for civic tech and civic apps - codeforamerica/civic-tech-patterns

Civic Tech Data Collaborative

The Civic Tech and Data Collaborative is a project of Living Cities, the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership, and Code for America that brought together local government officials, civic technologists, and local data intermediaries across seven communities.

Implementing Innovation

​Implementing Innovation: A User’s Manual for Open Government Programs is a hands-on resource that provides practical advice and guidance for government changemakers as they navigate the specific challenges of implementing innovative programs in the public sector.