It can be daunting to join a citizen sensing campaign, especially to those not familiar with the subject. To ease participants in, a basic set of informative resources can go a long way. The onboarding kit should include information and tools not only relating to the issue at hand and community building, but also to technological issues and ways to contribute.

Format MethodTimeframe 1 weekGroup Size AllFacilitation Level LowRequired Materials Context dependent


  • ISSUE: The first part of your onboarding kit should deal with bringing the participants up to speed on the issue. Put together some information on the topic, such as effects, possible causes and findings to date. This not only raises awareness, but also imparts an urgency. In here, a basic overview of the project, team, and any need-to-know information is also a great way for people to understand exactly what they are getting involved in from the outset.
  • COMMUNITY: This might be the most obvious, but it has two parts. First of all, there is a very real, physical side to community building, which can take the shape of simple introductions, chats and discovery exercises, as well as team-building objects (such as T-shirts, tote bags, pins and stickers), all of which create a sense of team belonging. Secondly, there is the digital component, which becomes the forum where the community can congregate when not meeting physically. The platform used will vary from community to community, with some preferring social media, others email, and so on. Find what works best with your community, and then co-create a safe space for discussion.
  • TECHNOLOGY: This is often the reason participants get involved with the project. It often helps to create a mini-guide so participants can become acquainted with the technology.
  • ACTION: Finally, a tool to encourage contribution is an excellent addition to your welcome pack. The sensing journals are a great option, or even a basic notebook. Whatever you choose as your method of recording actions, this could be a useful inclusion when new participants join a later iteration of the campaign.


Social interaction and good team spirit are integral to a healthy community of participants. A well-thought-out onboarding kit welcomes and guides a new participant into the project and the team. It is composed of both informative resources as well as community-building tools.


Keep in mind the guiding question while implementing this method: why are we here, and how can we work together?
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