Code for All Summit 2015 - what happened

code for all summit 2015

So Code for Australia is part of Code for All, an international network of people and organisations who believe that digital technology opens new channels for citizens to more meaningfully engage in the public sphere and have a positive impact on their communities. 

This year Code for All hosted its first public summit to bring together the international community of civic hackers who believe government and civil society can work together to create meaningful change through technology. The event was held in at New York's Civic Hall over 30th & 31st July. 

What happened

The first day of the Summit consisted of plenary discussions covering topics such as: 

• Defining and measuring impact 
• Building trust with government partners 
• Best practices for using technology to make structural change within government 
• Developing community and building a movement 
• Beyond the apps: the future of the civic hacking movement 
• Comparisons of program implementation across borders 

Day one also included spotlights on the work Code for All partners are doing around the world. You can check out the presentations here: http://livestream.com/internetsociety/codeforall 

Takeaways

We're all in this together - whilst every code for country program is approaching things differently, there are very similar experiences engaging government and industry, and there is tremendous interest from citizens to contribute.

Civic technology is real - As recently as ten years ago, government was seen as the black plague of the techworld. Bureaucracies move slowly. Governments have limited resources. Convincing municipalities to spend money on anything can be a Herculean task. Venture capitalists recommended entrepreneurs stick to the private sector where budgets are looser and there’s a more diverse customer base.

 That’s beginning to change. Governments are waking up to the need to bring their technology into the 21st century. It’s no longer good enough to have documents hidden in hundreds of filing cabinets and reports printed out on dot-matrix printers. Citizens are increasingly demanding transparency from their elected officials and too often, governments have no way to provide a clear window into how or why taxpayer money is being spent.

Innovation is catchy - innovation, digitisation, collaboration are all buzzwords that are being used around the world to justify new projects. It's great to see there is interest in this, but as Pia Waugh says, innovation needs to be driven from a personal need / interest. Real innovation is driven from frustration, and it doesn't matter whether we call it innovation, digitisation or doing our work, it simply gets the work done.

Check out more info on Code for All here: http://codeforall.org