Hack For Change
Are you a programmer, community leader, artist, or designer wanting to make a difference?  Mark your calendars for May 31 - June 1, 2014 for the National Day of Civic Hacking, a fun weekend of community service using design, programming and technology.  Whether you're a novice or expert, all are welcome!

Why Join the Civic Hacking Day

  • Contribute to Your Community: The news is filled with challenges and problems that face our nation, state, and local communities.   On this weekend of community service, technologists across the nation join forces to connect our communities and prototype solutions.
  • Learning by Doing:  I greatly appreciate that the "National Day of Civic Hacking" is open to everyone!  You do not need to be an expert in technology to be a part of the event.   The event is an fruitful opportunity to learn from community designers, entrepreneurs, community leaders, and programmers.   Since the event only lasts one or two days,  teams design very simple solutions to a focused challenge.   The weekend time bounds create an intense and fun learning experience. You learn innovation by doing it.
  • Network with Creative Designers, Programmers, and Leaders: Creatives love to share their craft.   The Civic Hacking Day provides an opportunity for you to get inspired by new ideas, new design techniques, novel tools, and positive social connections.
  • Gain Insight into Community Challenges: The event shines a light on civic challenges and open data.   Collaborating with other innovators in your area, you get to study of problems in your community that YOU care about.
  • Experience the Creative Process:  The 1 or 2 day time box forces teams to explore simple solutions.   Teams will need to focus on one problem, brainstorm potential solutions, prototype a solution, and pitch the idea to your peers.   This is a weekend of action and focused creativity.
My Experience

Last summer, I had the opportunity to participate in my first civic hackathon in Macon, GA.  I spent the weekend prototyping a social network site to encourage and support student entrepreneurs to design a business plan, prototype ideas, and learn by experimentation.   During the weekend of building the site, I learned a lot with my team.  ( check out this post for more details )   It was fun building a social network.   We, however, struggled with keeping our idea focused and communicating the vision.   After supporting the community site with blog posts for months, I decided to pivot the idea for the community site.   While business minded high school and college students exist, these students are a very small minority.   I still believe that it's important to give hope to high school and college students.   I'm still troubled when some of my young friends graduate from school and struggle to find work.   My personal goal was to give students inspiration and help them discover that they have options.  So, In the spirit of the lean startup, we created a minimum viable product(MVP), we tested it, and I learned lots of lessons.  

As I reflect upon the past year, I feel like I'm still accomplishing the vision of Changella website by mentoring our local Mercer University Google Developer Group.   I love teaching the craft of software and web development.   It has been fun to challenge our group to think about software as a means of positive change.   Technology is not an end.

How Do I Get Involved?

Register for the National Day of Civic Hacking in Macon, Georgia using the following link:


To learn more about the event get involved, visit the following website.   Events are organized across the country.


What's a Hackathon?

Join the Mercer Google Developer Group


Leave a Reply