FY 2017
 Year to Date




Using analytics to help the Library meet patrons' needs

Bruce Dotten

When I heard about a possible fellowship at Civic Consulting Alliance, I was intrigued to see if the data analytics background I had developed at KPMG would be a good fit. Fortunately, my fellowship presented an exciting opportunity to apply my data-driven problem-solving skills to the civic space.
My fellowship project was with the Chicago Public Library. The Library wanted to improve patrons' access to materials that needed to be delivered to their home branch from other branches in the Library system, a process that usually took more than a week.


For the last year, the Library had been testing different strategies to improve the delivery process of books and other materials, and wanted to know which strategies were most effective at reducing distribution delays. Working with a massive (17 million-record!) database, we untangled issues that seemed to cause delays and made recommendations for improvement.

Because of this analysis, the Library can now identify specific parts of the delivery process that need to be improved, allowing patrons to receive materials more quickly. In addition to increasing patron satisfaction and access to the Library's collection, our recommendations should reduce acquisition costs, as the Library can now stretch the usage of materials it already owns.

Thanks to this engagement, I have a broader perspective on how data are used to make business decisions, which I know will make me even more effective in my role at KPMG. Moreover, I have been so impressed with the humility Civic Consulting exhibits in its work; Civic Consulting Alliance consistently seeks results, not credit. I will carry this mentality with me throughout my career.

For more information on this project, contact Andy Schwarm.

Driving long-term transportation improvements
Access to affordable, convenient transportation options is critical for connecting residents to economic opportunity. In 2016, Civic Consulting Alliance helped Cook County develop its first Long Range Transportation Plan in more than 75 years, paving the way for crucial transportation upgrades.
The plan provided important strategic guidance for the County's Department of Transportation and Highways (DOTH), and following the plan's release, funding was allocated for the County's transportation work. To achieve the goals of the strategic plan, DOTH first needed to distill its five guiding priorities into specific, actionable initiatives to implement.

To that end, Civic Consulting staff worked with DOTH to inventory initiatives the department could take on to bring the transportation plan to life. The team developed criteria to assess each initiative's impact and feasibility, ultimately creating a portfolio of more than 50 initiatives for DOTH to implement. The Civic Consulting/DOTH team also developed a project management framework to oversee the implementation, including tools to track progress, address obstacles, and collaborate with multiple regional and national transportation stakeholders.


With early initiatives already launched, the plan is becoming a reality, and the County has started making meaningful investments to connect residents to jobs, leisure activities, and one another.

"Through our collaboration with Civic Consulting, we developed an implementation plan that has been a catalyst for the department in executing critical transportation priorities," said John Yonan, DOTH Superintendent. "Thanks to this work, the County will continue to serve as a national leader on transportation."

For more information on this project, contact Frank Beal.

Coming home to Chicago's civic sector

Eric Patton
Civic Consulting Alliance
As Executive Director of Genesys Works Chicago ---  a non-profit organization focused on improving the lives of disadvantaged high school students through skills training and meaningful job experiences ---  I was always looking for motivated board members who would drive impact. I was familiar with Civic Consulting Alliance thanks to a colleague from my former career at Accenture, and I tried to convince Brian Fabes to join the Genesys board. Brian turned the tables on me. Before I knew it, he convinced me to join Civic Consulting Alliance!
I probably should not have been surprised. Through my roles at Accenture and Genesys Works, I had developed consulting and project management skills, as well as a deep commitment to giving back to the community. Together, these experiences positioned me well for my move to Civic Consulting.

As a Principal, I oversee our Criminal Justice practice, a complex, but highly important area of our region's civic sector. Whether it is the work we have done in the court system, on policing issues, or in the Public Defender's and State's Attorney's offices, I see the meaningful impact our clients, pro bono partners, and staff make. We succeed because we are motivated to make Chicagoland a safer and more just place to live, and it is wonderful to be part of an organization that enables this work.

In other news...
  • Last summer, Civic Consulting Alliance and pro bono partners CannonDesign and the Kellogg School of Management collaborated with Cook County's criminal justice stakeholders to develop a new design for the County's Central Bond Court. Earlier this month, Fast Company interviewed the CannonDesign team. Read the article here.


Questions? Comments? Please email  Leslie Glotzer .

Civic Consulting Alliance is an affiliate of the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago.