Welcome to the Progressive Workbench! This site aims to be a resource center for the progressive tech ecosystem. Our goal is to help anyone who wants to contribute to progressive tech - and also to expand the ecosystem itself.
What is the progressive tech ecosystem? It’s a fairly loose affiliation of companies, non-profits, leaders, and volunteers - all of them using technology to help progressive causes in one form or another. That can take a lot of shapes and sizes! It includes the high schooler working on her aunt’s city council campaign website, the career data scientist toiling away on a new voter propensity model, the CTO of a presidential campaign… and many, many others.
The past five years have been a really interesting time in the history of the progressive tech ecosystem. In the aftermath of the 2016 elections, we saw a huge outpouring of energy and enthusiasm. Lots of new companies and organizations were formed. Lots of money poured into the space. Lots of people threw together skunkworks projects, and some of those projects went on to provide the margin of victory in some very close races!
We’re now in a very different place than we were then. To begin with, the political tides have turned somewhat, and progressives are feeling a modicum of relief and triumph in the afterglow of a close, but this time victorious, election cycle. At the same time, there is a huge question mark over the future: what will the future hold, both for progressive causes in particular and the country and the world at large? The progressive tech ecosystem is also changing in some fairly substantial ways: we’ve seen a wave of acquisitions in the past few months, and a fair number of funding streams dry up. There’s also a newfound interest in story-telling and community-building which seems to herald a closer connection to the world of civic tech - which is an entirely different ecosystem altogether. It’s pretty clear that the ecosystem is changing, even if we’re not quite sure how!
This site is dedicated to the notion that there is more that we need to do, and just as importantly: more that we can do. For all the variety in the progressive tech ecosystem, one thread that seems to run through every effort is that we are all capable of rolling up our sleeves and making a difference. Let’s get to work!