Taking Government & Civic Hacker Collaboration Up a Notch

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Our staff are incredibly grateful for the warm welcome extended by the cities, state, and territory partners to the 2014 Fellows. For the month of February they were off living in and learning about their partner cities and communities. (We’re glad they’re back.)

Those familiar with our Fellowship program know that, in order to develop an in-depth knowledge of a community’s structure, governance, and opportunities, our Fellows must really get know the government and the community. They must also perform extensive stakeholder meetings and user research to determine projects that can help local government move the needle on some of their biggest challenges.

February Achievements

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Some of those biggest challenges presented by our government partners this year include health, neighborhood engagement, civic engagement broadly, economic development, and more. Understanding those challenges required a great deal of outreach and collaboration with the community. Our government partners and their vibrant tech communities deserve as much kudos as our Fellows for pulling off wonderful research sprints and community engagement events. Some innovative examples of that work include:

  • Ever team team blogged, helping community members and Code for America keep up to date with the research and projects. Check out and follow the Fellowship blogs here.

  • Fellows pioneered guerilla user research in some fascinating ways.

  • Fellows conducted workshops and trainings like rapid prototyping for government and mapping with youth!

  • Every fellowship team launched or enhanced a Brigade and gathered the civic hacking community at Code Across, a first ever achievement! Here more about the accomplishments of the Code Across event here.

In between the long hours, Fellows were also able to collaborate across teams that helped communities track the weather and promote civic pride.

Also importantly, fellows never forgot to have fun.

Looking Forward

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Now that the fellows are back, they’re hard at work developing their ideas working with their fellow Code for America teams and their government partners. Code for America staff, board, and mentors like Jennifer Pahlka, Tim O’Reilly, Tom Steinberg, Ben Terrett and more have already come in to support Fellows in the next phase of their product development process. The below graphic from team Coqui Coders of Puerto Rico demonstrates how their team is thinking about their product development process. Fellow teams will all go through a process of diverging and converging ideas, eventually establishing a direction for their first prototypes that they can share with their government partners.

As Fellows prototype their solutions in the coming weeks, we’ll be sure to keep you all in the know around how their ideas develop. Thank you to all who have contributed their hard work, knowledge, and support to helping Fellows develop kick-ass projects we couldn’t have done it without you!

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Questions? Comments? Hit us up @codeforamerica.

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