Triangle Startup Weekend and Triangle Open Data Day - Feb 20-22

Winter Won’t Stop Busy Tech Weekend

Raleigh, NC – Winter may have put a hold on school events around the Triangle this week, but it will not put a stop to the upcoming busy Tech Weekend. So shake off the winter ice and come out to the events.

The 2 major events are going on just a few buildings away from each other on the NCSU Centennial Campus:

  • Triangle Startup Weekend EDU – Hunt Library – Friday, February 20, 2015 at 6:30 PM – Sunday, February 22, 2015 at 9:30 PM (EST)
  • Triangle Open Data Day – Engineering Building II – Saturday, February 21, 2015 at 9:00 AM – Sunday, February 22, 2015 at 6:00 PM (EST)
Triangle Open Data Day 2015 Sponsors

Triangle Open Data Day Sponsors

Cary, NC – We are proud and excited to announce the sponsors of Triangle Open Data Day (TODD):

Gold Sponsors

OpenDataSoft LogoOpenDataSoft is a Cloud-based turnkey platform designed for smart and easy transformation of all types of data into innovative services. Its mission: make it easier for business users to publish, share and reuse data.
Code for America LogoCode for America is a new kind of public service with brigades throughout the Triangle.

Bronze Sponsors

Caktus Group LogoCaktus Group. Caktus Group is the nation’s largest Django firm, building custom web and mobile apps to address the most complex challenges. In addition to being open source leaders, we’re committed to social good.
 

The Open Data Institute of North Carolina LogoThe Open Data Institute of North Carolina (ODI NC). The ODI NC provides Open Data thought leadership, research, training, consulting, dataset certifications and networking opportunities in North Carolina and south-east United States.
 

We are exceptionally pleased to have such an excellent venue for this year’s event, Engineering Building II on North Carolina State University’s Centennial Campus.
NC State College of Engineering

We are fortunate to have a Brigade Data Portal provided by Socrata for Triangle Open Data Day and Code Across.


Triangle Open Data Day is produced by Technology Tank in partnership with Code for Cary

Triangle Startup Weekend and Triangle Open Data Day - Feb 20-22

Feb 20-22: Busy Triangle Tech Weekend

Raleigh, NC – The weekend of February 20-22nd is a busy day of tech and civic involvement in the Triangle. 2 major events are going on just a few buildings away from each other on the NCSU Centennial Campus:

  • Triangle Startup Weekend EDU – Hunt Library
  • Triangle Open Data Day – Engineering Building II

Triangle Startup Weekend EDU

  • What: Triangle Startup Weekend EDU
  • When: Friday, February 20, 2015 at 6:30 PM – Sunday, February 22, 2015 at 9:30 PM (EST)
  • Where: James B. Hunt Jr. Library, 1070 Partners Way, Raleigh, NC 27606
  • Why: Have you ever had an idea for improving education? Here’s your opportunity to transform your education ideas into action in 54 hours. Find the right people with complimentary skills & the passion & dedication to build a startup quick & smart. Test your idea with real potential customers, receive coaching from experienced education entrepreneurs & industry professionals, and win prizes that will help you take your startup idea to the next level of execution!
  • Focus: Education
  • Registration Site

Triangle Open Data Day

  • What: Triangle Open Data Day
  • When: Saturday, February 21, 2015 at 9:00 AM – Sunday, February 22, 2015 at 6:00 PM (EST)
  • Where: College of Engineering, Engineering Building II, NCSU Centennial Campus, Raleigh, NC 27606
  • Why: Triangle Open Data Day 2015 is a gathering of citizens in the Triangle to write applications, liberate data, create visualizations and publish analyses using open public data to show support for and encourage the adoption open data policies by the world’s local, regional and national governments.
  • Focus: Health, Safety & Justice and Economic Development
  • Registration Site
NC Digital Commons

NC “Mobile First” – Digital Front Door Project Series

Cary, NC – Cary, NC – This is the third article in our series of the new paradigm for redeveloping municipal websites. We will bring you stories of the innovative things people are doing in this space. This article is about the Digital Commons Project at the State of North Carolina.

NC Digital Commons Project

NC.gov and State Agency Websites are Getting a Facelift, Going Mobile

The state is working to improve its web presence, not just for NC.gov, but for state agencies as well. We’re calling it the Digital Commons Project, with the goal of better customer service by improving user experience.

The Digital Commons Project provides cabinet agencies with the resources to have a modern, mobile-ready website that is better able to meet the needs of the citizen. For the first time, cabinet agencies are working together to provide predictable navigation, content that is easier to manage and that is better maintained, and a modern means to create and maintain websites. Websites will have robust functionality combined with a clean look and feel that functions on desktops, tablets and smartphones. A “mobile-first” approach will ensure websites work just as well on a small screen as on a large one. Designs will be consistent while allowing the flexibility for each agency site to have its own personality.

Why Mobile-First?

Many people in North Carolina do not have access to broadband or PC’s and for these people their smartphone is their access to the Internet. Designing for the smaller screen format first is important so all these people can access your content and interact with your websites. It is much easier to start small and add additional content for those with bigger screen sizes, than it is to try and shrink a website that was developed for the PC’s and have it be usable on a smartphone.

Brendan Morrisey, the CEO of Netsertive, recently presented the reality that mobile devices are currently outselling PC’s four to one, an impressive market penetration from their introduction in 2006. Brendan’s message is that you have to react to the innovations in the marketplace or you will be left behind. (Brendan’s presentation on innovation was given at the Morrisville Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting an Friday, January 30, 2015. There was a lot of great information in the presentation and we will try to bring some of that content to our readers soon.)

For both the reasons of lack of broadband and PC’s as well as the large scale adoption of mobile devices, “Mobile-first” is a smart strategy for the State of NC to be pursuing.

Check out the Digital Commons Project and see how you like it, also see if you like the process they are using to redesign their sites. If you find this interesting and useful, please talk to your elected officials to see if your Town or City can use a similar process for their website redesign.

Previous Tech Tank Articles in the Digital Front Door Series

Wake Forest MindMixer Site - Engage Wake Forest

Wake Forest Citizen Engagement

Wake Forest, NC – On Monday, January 19, 2015, a story on WRAL, Public invited to help with Wake Forest town manager search, pointed to the use of a powerful citizen engagement tool – MindMixer.

We certainly thank Wake Forest Town Manager Mark Williams for his service to the citizens of Wake Forest and wish him all the best in his retirement. We are also certain that the citizens of the Town of Wake Forest will be able to have their voices heard as they engage with the Town through Engage Wake Forest sharing their feedback on such things as:

  • What are the most critical challenges facing the town now and over the next two to five years?
  • What are the most important responsibilities of the manager?
  • What are the most critical competencies the town should be seeking in its next manager?

Engage Wake Forest

Engage Wake Forest is a citizen engagement tool powered by MindMixer.

The Town of Wake Forest is always looking for new ways to engage residents and community members on important topics. That’s why we’re inviting you to participate in our new social engagement site – Engage Wake Forest. This site is another way we are encouraging you to share comments and suggestions that will help us shape the future of Wake Forest.

What is MindMixer?

MindMixer GraphicMindmixer was one of several companies in the 2012 Accelerator program at Code for America.

Mindmixer offers community leaders a chance to crowdsource ideas, share assets and manage feedback

Mindmixer is a simple platform that generates a broader audience and creates more effective community participation. The app offers measurable results and invaluable insights for community leaders and elected officials.

Note: Evaluation of MindMixer was the first recommendation for the Cary Technology Task Force (TTF) “Evaluating community engagement tools such as MindMixer.” (See page 36 of the TTF final report)

GOV.UK Website

GOV.UK – Digital Front Door Project Series

Cary, NC – This is the second article in our series of the new paradigm for redeveloping municipal websites. We will bring you stories of the innovative things people are doing in this space. This article is about one of the first of this new best-in-class website redesign efforts, the development of GOV.UK.

GOV.UK

GOV.UK is the online home of government services and information in the United Kingdom. Released in October 2012, it was the first phase in the creation of a single domain for government, addressing the needs of users previously served by several other websites. GOV.UK is a key element in the government’s Digital by Default agenda, which was instigated by Martha Lane Fox’s “Revolution, not Evolution” report and endorsed by Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude.

GOV.UK has been built and tested in public, so that feedback from real users could be gathered and fed into successive improvements. This is in stark contrast to how large government IT projects have been delivered in the past. The agile, iterative approach means that the site can rapidly accommodate new standards for development and security, catering to emerging technology platforms and user requirements. These techniques have been shown to be more effective at delivering large-scale projects for the web – in the same way that world-class services like Amazon, Google and iPlayer are built and maintained.

GOV.UK has also been built using open source technology, which means that government won’t have to pay expensive software licensing costs.

Francis Maude on GOV.UK

Francis Maude said that creating GOV.UK has required a step-change in the way government presents services and information online:

GOV.UK is focused on the needs of users, not the needs of government. It has been planned, written, organised and designed around what users need to get done, not around the ways government want them to do it – providing only the content they need and nothing superfluous. Not only is the result simpler, clearer and faster for users, it will also cost taxpayers up to £70 million less per year than the services it replaces. We anticipate further substantial savings as more departments and agencies move on to the GOV.UK platform.

In the way it has been built – and will continue to be updated and improved on the basis of experience and user feedback – GOV.UK is an example of how the civil service should keep continuously changing and improving and remain focused on outcomes. The public wants services to be delivered better, and with GOV.UK we are responding with a digital platform that makes services quicker and easier to use, and produces efficiencies for government.

Check out the GOV.UK Website and see how you like it, also see if you like the process they have used to redesign their site. If you find this interesting and useful, please talk to your elected officials to see if your Town or City can use a similar process for their website redesign.

This article is based on information from the GOV.UK Press release: “GOV.UK: making public service delivery digital by default“, first published on 17 October 2012.

Previous Tech Tank Articles in the Digital Front Door Series

Code for Cary

Code for Cary – Jan 2015

Cary, NC – Tuesday, January 13, 2015, the Code for America Brigade in Cary (Code for Cary) held their first meeting of the year. The regular meeting space for Code for Cary has now changed to the Cary Innovation Center. While there was a strong sign up on meetup the weather warning of ice reduced turnout for the meeting.

Code for Cary Hack Night

Code for CaryBrigade Captains Robert Campbell and Ian Henshaw introduced the program. After the attendees had all introduced themselves there were presentations about Code for America and several of the projects that Code for Cary has and is working on:

  • Development Visualization App
  • Public Art Finder
  • When is my Trash Pickup?

A discussion about the challenges of massaging and cleaning the datasets the brigade receives to populate the apps was also informative. The meeting broke early being mindful of the weather and the attendees safety. Code for Cary will get back to the projects in a few weeks.

Want to Know More?

There are 5 Code for America Brigades in North Carolina. Each of them are undertaking exciting projects that can dramatically change the way that citizens interact with their governments and government services. Look over the Brigade websites. If you like what they are doing, join their meetups, introduce yourself and get involved. You do not have to be a coder as many, many skills are required to make disruptive change through technology adoption.

Details about all 5 NC brigades can be found in the Tech Tank article Code for America in NC 2015.

Philadelphia PA Alpha Website Redesign

Philadelphia – Digital Front Door Project Series

Cary, NC – This is the first article in our series of the new paradigm for redeveloping municipal websites. We will bring you stories of the innovative things people are doing in this space. First off is Philadelphia, PA.

Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia, PA has started a redesign project of their municipal website and you can see the site as it develops by going to alpha.phila.gov. Philadelphia is using an open iterative process to first find out how their citizens use the website, then add some design and information elements and then evaluate through web analytics how successful they are at meeting the citizen’s needs.

There is a survey on the website that they want citizens to take. The survey asks questions about what devices and where the person uses to access the website, what types of typical municipal information the user needs to find and some demographics about their neighborhood, age and language spoken at home. It is refreshing to see a survey that identifies the user and their needs first rather than asking technical questions about website structure, layout and design that most people are unable to answer properly.

Check out the Philadelphia, PA alpha site and see how you like it and if you like the process they are using to redesign the site. If you find this interesting and useful, please talk to your elected officials to see if your Town or City can use a similar process for their website redesign.

About alpha.phila.gov

YOUR NEEDS FIRST.

Instead of designing from our own assumptions, we will start with the needs of our neighbors, the residents of Philadelphia. We will learn how people want to use phila.gov through regular usability testing and our web analytics.

WORK IN SMALL CHUNKS.

Instead of designing the entire site up front, we will break down development into manageable, two week iterations. This agile process allows us to develop quickly and provides flexibility to adjust to user feedback and (inevitable) unforeseen issues.

BE OPEN AND INVITE PARTICIPATION.

Instead of working behind closed doors and making the public wait for a grand reveal, we will build out in the open. This is an experimental prototype, a work in progress. It’s missing content. Parts of it are confusing. The design needs work. And that’s the point. We’re starting here, knowing it’s not perfect, but with the means to continually make it better.

Other Tech Tank Digital Front Door Articles

Code for Raleigh

Code for Raleigh – Jan 2015

Raleigh, NC – Tuesday, January 6, 2015 saw the Raleigh Code for America Brigade (Code for Raleigh) hold one of their biggest hack nights ever – 40 “civic hackers” had signed up on the meetup group. Civic hackers started filtering in to the NC Innovation Center early in anticipation of the nights events.

Code for Raleigh Hack Night

Code for Raleigh PresentationsBrigade Captains, Jason Hibbets and Reid Serozi introduced the program. After the attendees had all introduced themselves there was a round of short presentations of the ongoing projects and pitches for projects that different people wanted to work on. The projects ranged from reuse of existing Code for America (CfA) projects to some really interesting new ideas:

  • Where’s My School Bus (Existing CfA project)
  • NC Connect
  • Flu Shot Finder (Existing CfA project)
  • Real Time Transit Finder
  • Optimized School Bus Routes [Using data from Where’s My School Bus?]
  • Where’s My Treatment
  • Prospect Citizen

Code for Raleigh PresentatonsAfter the presentations, the assembled crowd broke up into groups to discuss and work on the above projects. Much civic goodness will come from this and the subsequent Code for Raleigh Meetings. All these projects and their activity can be found on the Code for Raleigh Website.

Want to Know More?

There are 5 Code for America Brigades in North Carolina. Each of them are undertaking exciting projects that can dramatically change the way that citizens interact with their governments and government services. Look over the Brigade websites. If you like what they are doing, join their meetups, introduce yourself and get involved. You do not have to be a coder as many, many skills are required to make disruptive change through technology adoption.

Details about all 5 NC brigades can be found in the Tech Tank article Code for America in NC 2015.

Code for America Digital Front Door Initiative

Code for America Digital Front Door Initiative

Cary, NC – Code for America has undertaken the Digital Front Door Initiative, an effort to design city websites with people in mind. The approach is to be data-driven, quick, actionable, immediately relevant and decentralized.

Tech Tank will run a series looking at several cities that are redesigning the process where they recreate their City Websites. Lets look first at the principles of the Code for America Digital Front Door Initiative:

Goals for the Digital Front Door

We put together a list of nine principles for cities that want to launch a Digital Front Door. Every city that launches one agrees to:

  1. Embrace digital services as central to governing
    • Government services should be “digital by default,” available to us on the mainstream platforms and technologies we already use.
    • Services should be useful, accessible, and add value to our lives.
    • Government should do more than broadcast out. Tools should make room for interaction, feedback, and citizen participation.
  2. Design with empathy, establish trust
    • Government service design should reflect a respect for our time, dignity, and abilities.
    • When the act of renewing a driver’s license, filing a request, or getting a business license is pleasant, citizens begin to trust and appreciate government.
    • Services should be compelling enough that citizens prefer to use them.
  3. Serve everyone
    • Government services should be designed to reach as many citizens as possible regardless of income, location, language, or access to technology.
    • Government employees should get out of the building, test assumptions with real citizens, and tweak service design to improve it on a regular basis.
  4. Encourage citizen participation
    • Governments and citizens should share in decision-making and service design.
    • Services should be built to anticipate participation from employees and citizens in the design and development process.
  5. Be transparent and accountable
    • Let citizens and staff see and support what’s going on in government, whether it’s purchasing data, viewing open source code, or accessing open data portals.
    • Governments should be clear on the goals of a service and identify areas that can be measured, displayed, and improved on by employees and the public.
  6. Build for flexibility, welcome change
    • Online services are an ongoing investment that require attention and modification over time.
    • Government services should be launched as evolving pilot projects rather than one-time massive monoliths.
    • Cities should invest in ongoing research, maintenance, and development and should have the internal support to push regular technology upgrades.
  7. Create better processes and policies
    • The best government technologies should be easy-to-use and useful in a city employee’s regular work routine.
    • Government technology should reduce overall workload and increase the efficiency of city employees.
    • City policies should support the creation and deployment of better online services.
  8. Unlock the capabilities of government employees
    • Governments should expect city employees to tweak and improve on city services.
    • Innovation, technology maintenance, and service design should be a responsibility of all employees, rather than the realm of one group or department.
  9. Get value for tax dollars
    • Whether through short-term trials or pilot programs, no system or vendor solution should be deployed en masse without evidence of success.
    • When investing in technology, cities should consider their internal skills and ability to maintain and upgrade that technology in the future.
    • Governments should reduce barriers to the contracting process and encourage greater competition amongst vendors in order to increase options and drive down the cost of technology.