Monday, April 27, 2015

Help Prepare: June 6th Civic Hackathon in Appleton

If you're super-excited about the upcoming June 6th "DHMN Civic Hackathon/Appleton 2015" event, you may want to direct some of that passion into helping prepare for the hackathon!

I've developed a community advocate rule-of-thumb over the past 20 years, called the 1/9/90 Rule. Here's how the 1/9/90 Rule works. For every 100 people that are interested in a topic or in being part of a community-of-interest, there will be the following levels of participation in that topic or community-of-interest, or in events in that community.
  • 1 person out of 100 will be a founder or core driver of an event or community.
  • 9 people out of 100 will actively help organize a community or event or help do needed tasks in the community or during the event.
  • 90 people out of 100 will consider participating in a community or event that they've previously expressed interest in. Participation levels among these 90 depends on focus of the event or community, effectiveness of the marketing and communication about the event or community, the perceived uniqueness or benefits offered by the community or event and other factors. Strong participation is probably 50 out of every 100 who had expressed an interest and have heard of the event, while low participation is 5 out of 100. 
Three specific factors that significantly raise participation levels in a community or event are:
  1. Being personally invited to participate and having it made easy to register, with follow up by the person doing the inviting.
  2. Having the person doing the inviting identify a participation benefit that has strong appeal to the potential participant.
  3. Knowing about other participants whom the potential participant enjoys doing things with or would like to meet.
If YOU are one of the 9-out-of-100 who will actively help prepare for a civic hackathon, please
consider contacting me about one of the following Hackathon Prep roles that will help make the June 6 event even better than it will already be.

Hackathon Prep: Recruit Participants
We are most likely to have lots of civic hackers gather on June 6th if many people personally invite others to participate. The civic hackathon will be most fun and most effective if we have many people who bring a wide variety of experience, knowledge and interests. The top priority is to get a good mix of developers, people who have different coding skills, especially knowledge about open datasets, manipulating databases, scraping data from the web, creating mobile apps and responsive website, etc. For other types of people to invite see the blog post about non-coder activities.
Hackathon Prep: Social Media / Spread The Word / Marketing
Communicating and promoting the civic hackathon are important for three reasons. First, effective marketing and promotion will make sure a large number of potential participants know about the event and realize there are good reasons for them to participate. Second, strong marketing and persuasive promotion will help raise the credibility and visibility of civic hacking among government officials and administrators around
northeast Wisconsin. And finally, a highly visible, credible and well-marketed event will benefit event sponsors and will encourage more organizations to sponsor civic hacking activities in 2015 and in future years. If you want ideas on how you can help market the event, contact me, and we can discuss various ways you can help hackathon marketing!
Hackathon Prep: Research Civic Hacks
Help is needed to research civic hacks. Because this is the first civic hacking event in the region, and because there will likely be few highly experienced civic hackers participating in our June 6th hackathon, research hacks will be very useful. That research will help us get more done on the day of the event. Those participants who have researched civic hacks will know what they want to work on and can help explain civic hacks to other participants.
Hackathon Prep: Figure Out Appleton GIS Civic Hacks
It looks like the main Appleton open government datasets we'll have for use during the hackathon are GIS datasets (geographic information system). So it would be a good idea if some participants research GIS civic hacks before June 6. Contact a few local GIS people, contact others doing GIS civic hacks, and figure out one or several hacks we can do with the Appleton GIS public datasets.
Hackathon Prep: Fork Civic Hack Code On GitHub
If you're a knowledgeable GitHub user, you could research some of the civic hacks that are on GitHub and choose one to fork before June 6 for the Appleton hackathon. If you fork it (please consider using the DHMN Civic Hacks GitHub account) and get it all set up to be modified for Appleton's use, our civic hacking time on June 6 will be more
productive. As you can see on GitHub, we've already forked at least one civic hack for the hackathon in Appleton.
Hackathon Prep: Be A Sponsor / Recruit A Sponsor
Sponsors are a key part of participant-driven events, like this civic hackathon. Sponsors make it possible to (1) bring in experienced civic hackers from other areas, (2) have a good venue, Internet access, meals and supplies to make the event more effective and fun, (3) have participant freebies like event vinyl stickers, event t-shirts, sponsor t-shirts or hoodies, tech tool swag, sponsor shoulder bags or backpacks. If you're willing to be an event sponsor, contact me at bwaldron (at) gmail [dott] com. If you have questions about recruiting a sponsor for the event, also contact me.
Hackathon Prep: Write Blog Posts
I plan to do a blog post related to civic hacking each day between now and June 6th. If you are highly interested in, or knowledgeable about, a topic related to civic hacks, it would be great to have other people's perspectives on this blog. Guest posts would also give the blog readers a break from my style, which would be a good thing!! Contact me, and we'll work out the details.
Hackathon Prep: Interview A Civic Hacker
If you know a civic hacker, or if you're willing to research and reach out to one or several interesting civic hackers, it would be great if you could interview them for a post on this blog. The interview could be done via email, +Hangouts or Skype video calls, or in-person. If you want interview questions to ask the civic hacker, I've got a list you can use for a starting point. After you do the interview, I'll help you get it written up into a blog post if you want assistance with that.
Hackathon Prep: Develop Website For NE Wisc Civic Hacks
As you may have noticed, the only current 'website' for DHMN Civic Hacks and for the DHMN Civic Hackathon/Appleton 2015 is this Google Blogger one. It would be helpful to have a more versatile and capable website, but I'm not a web developer and no one else has volunteered yet to help build a site. If you are a web developer and want to build or help build a real website for DHMN Civic Hacks -- and help with a little site maintenance for at least a year or so -- please contact Bob Waldron at bwaldron (at) gmail [dott] com.
I'm sure I forgot a number of prep activities. If there is some way you'd like to help that's not listed, please contact me at bwaldron (at) gmail [dott] com. Let me know if there's anything I can help you with as You help make our civic hackathon better!


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