On August 10, 2018 the organization I help run, Code for Boston, is hosting its National Day of Civic Hacking event at the Venture Cafe at the CIC in Kendall Square. You can register for this event at Eventbrite.
Typically Code for America affiliated brigades run a hackathon every single year, but one of the things we have learned is that while popular, the hackathon format requires a lot of work and people do not always want to spend a weekend indoors. In Boston summer weekends are precious and we know that folks often prefer to be outside if it is nice, so we decided to have an evening Ignite talk event. This worked out well for us because we have not done an Ignite format event in a long time and it enables us to aim to put together a well-run hackathon style event in the autumn.
We are also working to make our events more inclusive. In order to do this we have been trying to have programming to broaden our appeal. We are adding workshop programming to our weekly hack nights so that folks who do not want to hack on a specific project but learn a new skill can participate that way. We are also actively working to help folks start projects. As our old projects spin down we are realizing that our new project intake process does a good job of enumerating the qualities of a successful project but also sets a high bar in helping folks get to that bar. The main thing we are able to help with is recruiting folks for project leadership positions with a Google form and message to our Meetup group. While we have received some feedback that the greater structure around our organization has caused it to lose some of its free wheeling appeal, our attendance appears to be higher this summer than in the past so it seems like it is working.