Community Commons

We built a state-of-the-art graph knowledge base to power the next generation Community Commons platform.

The need

The Institute for People, Place and Possibility (IP3), stewards of Community Commons (the Commons), wanted to support the growing number of public health and community collaboratives who needed actionable information. The current version of the Commons provided a lot of data, but left users struggling to make sense of it all and put it into action.

Working with IP3, we asked ‘What does the next the next generation of tools for community change makers look like?”

Our approach

The first thing we did was engage with users to understand the way in which they were using data, and where the current gaps were. We learned that the biggest challenge was understanding how to use the data to inform decisions, and share the learnings with the broader community.

Based on qualitative information, we implemented a graph database called the Information Exchange, based on Elastic Search and MongoDB. We also implemented a web-based API to support partner information sharing.  Finally, we designed a brand-new user interface to support the new capabilities of the Information Exchange.

The final result

We delivered the combined information hub and Commons interface in under a year. The launch of the commons included more than 30,000 entities connected through 70,000 linkages.

Overall, users were able to find unique qualitative information directly related to the data, supporting putting into action.

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