Civic Consulting Alliance:  Smart work.  Great city.  

FY 2014
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Pro bono partners:

On November 21st, Civic Consulting Alliance, the University of Chicago and the Harris School of Public Policy jointly hosted a roundtable discussion on leveraging public-private efforts to tackle pressing urban issues.


Local and national leaders from the public, private and academic sectors explored past successes of high-impact public-private work, and areas for future collaboration and impact. Reflecting on past collaborations, panels and guests discussed the Chicago recovery partnership, the Community Anti-Violence and Restoration Effort, and the Summer Civic Fellowship program, through which graduate students in public policy, business, and non-profit administration join Civic Consulting Alliance to address important issues in the region.



Areas of potential future partnerships discussed included: 

  • Working on projects that impact multiple cities by fostering collaboration between those working to address similar challenges
  • Enhancing engagement with community organizations to increase the impact of a public-private partnership
  • Collaborating with University of Chicago Booth to coach new leaders through a practicum course on public-private partnerships

"We've only scratched the surface on the possibilities to leverage university partnerships in making Chicago a great city for everyone," said Jim Glerum, who served as a panelist for the event. "We look forward to future collaborative efforts with the academic sector, and to continuing the conversation around our model."

For more information please contact Brian Fabes.

Pro bono partners:


Strategic Talent Solutions (STS) has been working with Civic Consulting Alliance and senior leaders at the Cook County Health and Hospitals System (CCHHS) to launch the first CCHHS University Leadership Development Program. Over the last 12 months, STS consultants have worked to develop and implement a customized training program to support and promote the success of patient care leaders at CCHHS.


"Leadership development is a high-impact change enabler in any organization," said Elizabeth Howard, one of the STS consultants. "Through this program, we hope to give leaders the tools they need to help CCHHS achieve its vision."



The program's first cohort consists of 14 managers. These leaders were selected for their ability to be role models of effective leadership and high-quality patient service. Over the last three months, participants have shared best practices and learned a variety of techniques that will help them build strong relationships, manage conflicts, and solve problems. 


Participants engaged in simulations addressing real challenges they face as managers, and will apply the strategies they have learned to solve important issues within their areas of responsibility.


"It has been incredibly rewarding to work with Civic Consulting Alliance and CCHHS leaders. We have seen the direct impact of the program first-hand," said Sarah Rusakiewicz, another member of the STS team. 


In October, Rusakiewicz shared her insights on the importance of leadership development to effective hospital administration with MBA candidates at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business's annual Net Impact Conference, which focuses on how business school students can leverage their degrees for the good of the public.

For more information, please contact Asheley Van Ness.


Pro bono partners:

Leaders across industries are just beginning to explore the insights of "Big Data" - the ability to capture, store and analyze vast amounts of data in real time.  Although we hear a lot about big data's impact in the private sector, its implications for the public sector are just as significant. 

The Chicago Department of Innovation and Technology, for example, has built one of the largest open data portals in the country and recently launched a first-of-its-kind data dictionary cataloging every dataset maintained by the City and its sister agencies.  Innovations like these serve to increase transparency for the general public, while inviting data-minded community members to contribute to improving the City through researching solutions and building applications.


Civic Consulting's Data Science Initiative has the goal of building the City of Chicago's capacity to use leading edge techniques to solve the city's operational challenges. Civic Consulting has worked with four pro bono partners to use advanced analytics and optimization to improve key City operations and scale these capabilities across departments.  For example:

  • Accenture evaluated and prioritized areas where big data can have the greatest impact at the City
  • Allstate is developing a predictive tool that will enable food inspectors to uncover twice as many critical violations as they do currently
  • Sagence is using logistic regressions and data mining to help the Department of Finance identify and prevent systematic payment errors
  • The Greatest Good is using sophisticated data analytics to help inspectors by predicting which businesses are likely to sell untaxed cigarettes 


"The partnerships that have been forged with these Chicago-based companies have allowed our analytics program to quickly expand, enabling analytics to transform Chicago's government at a fast pace," said Tom Schenk Jr., the director of analytics for the Chicago Department of Innovation and Technology.


For more information, please contact Kelsey Burr.

In Other Civic Consulting News...  


County Health System Reduces Reliance on Taxpayers by $76 Million


Cook County Health and Hospitals System (CCHHS) has reduced its taxpayer subsidy by $76 million in its approved 2014 budget. Of the public health system's $1.1 billion budget, county taxes will contribute just 15% next year, compared with 50% in 2009.


Since the summer of 2012, Civic Consulting Alliance and partners have supported the system's turnaround and transformation to continue to care for underserved residents in the post-Affordable Care Act paradigm. Financial stability provides the foundation for the ambitious plans. Next the system is investing to improve how it engages patients. Recently, Civic Consulting and partners have helped CCHHS leadership increase answer rates for patient calls by 50% and train managers of patient-facing staff.

For more information, please contact Shruti Jayaraman.


Civic Consulting Alliance Launches Emerging Civic Leaders Fellowship


In October 2013, Civic Consulting Alliance launched the Emerging Civic Leaders Fellowship, a yearlong professional development opportunity for up-and-coming civic leaders in the public and private sectors. The inaugural class has 13 fellows, including five from City and County government and their affiliates and eight from the private sector. The goal of the fellowship is to cultivate and connect young leaders who have shown an exceptional commitment to the Chicagoland region and equip them to serve as leaders who develop solutions to our region's biggest challenges.


For more information, please contact Brian Battle.


Civic Consulting CEO Urges Library Directors to Focus on Decisions First


Brian Fabes, Civic Consulting Alliance CEO, was the keynote speaker at the Library Journal Directors Conference, an annual meeting of library directors from across the country.  Brian spoke on using performance metrics to improve impact. Reflecting on Civic Consulting's work with numerous partners and clients on performance management, Brian urged attendees to think first about the decisions they want to make and how they will make them before trying to answer the question of which input, activity, output or outcome measures to focus on.


For more information, please contact Brian Fabes.


Metropolitan Planning Council Advocates for Bus Rapid Transit along Ashland Avenue


Civic Consulting and our partners worked over the past two years with the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) to develop Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in Chicago. CTA is seeking a "gold-standard" BRT along Ashland Avenue, which calls for limited stops, dedicated lanes, priority signals and off-board payment of fares to reduce travel time and increase reliability - factors that attract investors and home buyers and renters. In a recent column, the Metropolitan Planning Council cited research conducted by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy on BRT investments in Cleveland and Pittsburgh that resulted in up to $114 in transit-oriented development for each dollar invested in BRT.


For more information, please contact Ariel Ranieri.