On Saturday I attended the Public Interest Technology Summit at Harvard Kennedy School. About eighty people gathered to learn about and discuss issues related to public interest technology. Public interest technology is the term the Ford Foundation is using to describe the field that many of us currently call civic tech. It was a worthwhile summit where I networked and learned a lot.
One session I attended was facilitated by Nick Sinai and focused on how to get students into the field. Students involved in the group Coding it Forward were there to share their experiences and how their program worked. It was helpful to get the experience of college students but I was disappointed to learn one of the founders of the group chose a job with Google instead of government, as rational as that decision was.
Another session was focused on David Eaves maturity model for digital services groups. The session emphasized that the product of digital services groups is culture change and there was a focus on user centered design. User centered design is the design and management side of what software developers might know as agile. Working together these two methodologies allow teams to deliver products that do a better job of fixing problems more quickly.