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Hacking for Good – Update from the Joplin Hackathon

So this weekend I’m in Joplin, MO for the Joplin Hackathon put together byCivicPlus and City of Joplin.

The goal of the event is to create a new digital townhall for the City in time to release for the 1-year anniversary of the Joplin tornado. Here is their current websitewe are going to improve over the weekend – I think we can make big improvements over the weekend.

The city has made a ton of progress in a year and it’s amazing to hear the stories from city officials and residence of how they came together during the tornaod. Most of the effects have been cleaned up but there are still areas that are working to be revitalized.

Yesterday, we had the kick-off with the Mayor of Joplin. There are 9 teams competing and the Mayor talked a lot about how citizens depended on the website during the tornado and they need to continue to evolve to meet citizen expctations

It was great to spend time with Brian Rempe, CTO of CivicPlus, talking about the future of civic technologies. Here we are with the City of Joplin PIO (Lynn Onstot) hearing how she dealt with both traditional and new media in the wake of the disaster. They went from 200 Facebook fans to over 14,000 fans overnight as citizens clamored for information during the recovery. She mentioned it’s important for citizens to engage in these channels as if they don’t unofficial pages spring up that aren’t always accurate

This morning we met with the 9 teams and it was great to hear all their ideas. The applications are due at 2pm tomorrow. Here is one team cranking away

More to come as the event progresses. For the meanwhile, let’s end with me being the mayor for the day 🙂

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Chris Cairns

That is very cool. Amazing results as well. I wasn’t aware of this kind of innovation taking place on local levels through these type of events. Invite me to the next one!

Andrew Krzmarzick

Really cool that this is happening in Joplin…wondering if this could become a regular kind of thing – smart apps developers descend on a city a few weeks / months after an emergency and help the city get back on its with digital solutions.

Sam Anselm

Steve, thanks for your participation in the event this past weekend. And you’re right, our new website will be a definite improvement over the existing one. I’ve seen the mock-up already, and it’s pretty sweet.