Open Tech

Case Study: Practical Principles to Encourage a Civic Youth Pipeline

July 24, 2014


Kids in Sayada, Tunisia working on a plan for their Community Wireless Network - Photo Credit: Ryan Gerety

When determining if a project or process was successful, frequently we look at what the outcomes were, detailed statistics about what happened, as well as thinking about if the experiment or intervention can be sustained or scaled?  More often than not though it’s the impact of the process itself that matters.

Process is a huge part of everyday life in communities. Whether you are organizing a neighborhood block party or attending a public meeting, you are engaging with the governance processes and community structures that comprise our lives. These engagement opportunities can be few and far between, and frequently lacking sufficient pathways to engage with young people. Framing each of these engagements as opportunities to enter into civic process, there is an opportunity to expand the civic pipeline for youth. This can be as simple as experimenting with including youth in the civic processes that impact their communities.

The 2014 Allied Media Conference MagicNet: Third Time’s the Charm

July 21, 2014
Pair of network installers

OTI works with Digital Stewards to construct this year’s conference-wide network.

At the 2014 Allied Media Conference, the Open Technology Institute partnered with the Detroit Digital Stewards to construct the conference-wide mesh network, MagicNet. This network provides a basic wireless connection to the Internet, as well as a platform for local applications and services for conference attendees. In previous years, OTI has led the MagicNet planning and construction as a training exercise for Digital Stewards from both Detroit and Red Hook, Brooklyn. This year, the newest round of Detroit Stewards led the process with minimal assistance from Open Technology Institute staff.

4 Tips for Organizing Unstructured Events Without Going Insane

July 2, 2014

Crafting high-quality civic technology — projects and tools designed withsocial impact in mind — requires thought, creativity, and intentionality — the strength to ask:

“Will this project actually have social impact? Is it being designed for the social/cultural/political context in which it will be implemented? And if not, what steps do we need to take and what people do we need to substantially involve to get there?”

Neither Bottom-Up Nor Top-Down: 3 Tips for Horizontal Organizing

June 30, 2014

Crafting high-quality civic technology — projects and tools designed withsocial impact in mind — requires thought, creativity, and intentionality — the strength to ask:

“Will this project actually have social impact? Is it being designed for the social/cultural/political context in which it will be implemented? And if not, what steps do we need to take and what people do we need to substantially involve to get there?”

On Accountability and Audience: Why We Didn't Have a Funk Parade Hackathon

June 27, 2014

Crafting high-quality civic technology — projects and tools designed with social impact in mind — requires thought, creativity, and intentionality — the strength to ask:

“Will this project actually have social impact? Is it being designed for the social/cultural/political context in which it will be implemented? And if not, what steps do we need to take and what people do we need to substantially involve to get there?”

Our approach to community-building in the name of civic tech should be the same.

So You Think You Want to Run a Hackathon? Think Again. (A Case Study on #CivicTech Events)

June 23, 2014



This article is an excerpt from a longer piece originally posted on Medium. Click here for the full story.


 

“Hackathons.” That’s one of the most popular answers to a question you haven’t asked yet: How do you organize your local tech community to do X/attend Y/engage with Z?

Citizen Science : A Pathway to Civic Action

June 12, 2014
At last week’s Personal Democracy Forum, Matt Stempeck who has led work on participatory civic projects out of MIT’s Center for Civic Media, moderated a panel on Citizen Science.

Civic Innovation: a New America-wide conversation

June 2, 2014
Image by slobikelane via Flickr
Are community tool libraries (shared work equipment, like that pictured above) a civic innovation? Image by slobikelane.

Digital Stewardship and your community

April 18, 2014
Person on building OTI has partnered with groups around the world to develop the concept of Digital Stewardship, and hopes to refine it as more communities adopt and adjust it for local needs. Digital Stewardship is a principled approach to community technology that emphasizes self-governance and sustainability. Digital Stewards grow and maintain the technology their communities need to foster healthy relationships, build resilience, and increase access to critical information. OTI works with local partners to integrate the Digital Stewards approach into the group’s existing projects, missions, and goals.

A Network Model of Broadband Adoption: Using Twitter to Document Detroit Future

  • By
  • Joshua Breitbart,
  • Greta Byrum,
  • Georgia Bullen,
  • Kayshin Chan,
  • New America Foundation
May 1, 2014

From 2010 to 2012, the Detroit Digital Justice Coalition (DDJC) conducted a federally-funded training program in digital media that they called “Detroit Future.” The purpose of the program was to use broadband adoption as a means of strengthening economic development and community organizing in Detroit. To that end, the DDJC developed a “networked” model of broadband adoption as part of its implementation of the program. The coalition documented the program with the Twitter hashtag #detroitfuture.

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