In citizen sensing, people sometimes struggle to understand how data is relevant to their lives, or how it is connected to the challenges they face. This is especially true when decisions about what constitutes an important barometer of change are taken in a non-transparent way and do not relate to the community’s concerns. CLIs are a good way to connect the dots between sensor data and real life. They also help those involved see the impact of their actions by tracking and measuring real change. This process encourages participants to choose collaboratively what information will be collected, and how. Ideally, this is also a tool that people can continue to use after the campaign ends to see how their actions have made a difference.

Format Method, WorkshopTimeframe 1 - 2 hGroup Size AllFacilitation Level LowRequired Materials Pen and paper, Post its, CLIs canvas


  • During the early part of Planning, gather all participants together to decide on the collective goals of the campaign. Use a brainstorming exercise and sticky notes for everyone to jot down what they want to seernchange. Once these goals have been identified, cluster any similar ideas together. After this editing process, ask everyone to vote with sticker dots then agree on the two goals they would most like to achieve.
  • Then, divide everyone into groups of 4-5 people. Each group chooses a goal, and uses the CLIs canvas to decide on indicators which can be monitored to track the progress towards that goal. Each group alsornagrees on a strategy and logistics for collecting this data. Ask the groups to consider; how, when, how often and by whom these indicators will be measured.
  • The group repeats this process for up to three different indicators. When the activity is finished, the groups presents their results back to everyone. Then, using sticker dots, everyone votes openly on the indicators they would most like to monitor. The indicators with the highest number of votes are then taken forward and tracked.
  • Participants keep a record of their indicators using the data journals or other devices, such as smartphones, to note information or take photographs.


Community Level Indicators (CLIs) make the invisible visible. CLIs are objective measurements collected by the community so as to complement the sensor data. These criteria are chosen by the community, and reflect the collective goals of the project.


Keep in mind the guiding question while implementing this method: what change do we want to see happen, and how can we measure that change?
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