There were many meaningful projects at SOCAP2011, one is Code For America. Jennifer Palke founded Code For America in 2009 to re-invent government by leveraging the talents of designers and programmers. Code for America offers service year programs, just like the Peace Corps, but with the culture of startup incubators such as the Y-combinator. Program contributors, called Fellows, take a year off to give back and work closely with government to build applications for public good. These applications are usually built for a specific city’s need then scaled to multiple cities. The goal is to make civic leaders out of technologists and change the culture of government to become more responsible citizens. Problems that may look big to government can be very solvable for technologists who are familiar with agile and lean solutions.
This year, Code For America created a platform called “Change By Us” for the city of Seattle. On this platform, citizens can go online to report issues around the city such as dirty parks. The reports then spark citizen actions such as park clean-up. What will they come up with next? And what digital solutions do you want to see for your city?
Connie Kwan is the founder and CEO of RealMealz.com. She holds an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School, and covers stories about triple bottom line businesses and projects. Follow her on Twitter @RealMealz or @ConnieMKwan and check here for more video interviews from SOCAP 2011