I see them as quite separate depending on the country and business model.
We have civic crowdfunding platforms like SpaceHive in UK
which engage which citizens who want to improve spaces in their city by helping them crowd fund their project. They do work with mayors and businesses but their business model is not B2G but B2C and B2B where B is either large brands or businesses who want to invest in cities or areas to help seed various regeneration activities or mobilise local communities.
Our latest pilot Changify
#smarterstreets works directly with service providers who maintain contracts with cities to collaborate with citizens (in this case road-users) to improve infrastructure (roads and highways) in real-time along with sensor data. This has much potential to re-define how we can co-create citizen centric smart cities, working together with iOT and moving away from centralised systems to bringing together both bottom-up and top down data.
The word 'citizen' and 'civic' also needs context. Citizens don't always need government to 'exist'. But Government do need citizens.
If we can empower citizens to tap on each other to crowdsource, solve and fund civic initiatives, we will see a shift in the power of how Gov Tech works with civic led projects, especially in times of austerity and spending cuts. In the US, Neighbourland,
Yimby etc have brought together communities to work with various city and urban stakeholders to create different kinds of projects. There might be new ways to visualise where one's taxes go in govt spending /budgets and to create this data-transparency there might be new business models on citizen owned data.
Civic tech unfortunately assumes its paying customer has to be Govt or a grant funder like Knight Foundation/Omidiyaar etc. So many times it inherits much of the business model problems of Govt Tech. Selling to government is not the only business model in town, we need to to see where is the value being generated in the eco-system and who is paying who and for what.
Personally I find the more interesting business models being increasingly helping/facilitating C2C biz models to take off- and I don't mean just Airbnb or Uber/circular/so-called sharing economy but models whether that is micro-finance from Grameen
to in SF - pioneering initiatives like Josephine food delivery.
We need to find ways in which civic tech startups can decouple 'citizen' and 'civic' from solving the problems created by Govt - i.e. due to their organisational and cultural issues - when there are many more opportunities to enable citizens and communities working together with businesses in a win-win way. That would be real business model innovation for civic tech. Time to choose the right problem to solve.
Civic tech also needs to move away from the idea of an entity called Government and become more focussed about 'Governance' - i.e. how to facilitate and get stuff done within communities, cities, countries without having to deal with legacy data, issues and platforms. In UK we have the ODI - Open Data Institute
started by Tim Berners Lee which is backing/seeding startups that use open data to solve civic and other data challenges - e.g. CityMapper.
Good inspirational ref read from the Atlantic
is how this food delivery startup in the Bay area is redefining how NOT to be the Uber of Food delivery but go beyond it. Yes, the funding they have attracted to date is lower than the Uber for Food ... but the tide is shifting.