Code for America? Whats that and what are they doing in Kansas City, Kansas? Well let’s start with who or what is Code for America? The Washington Post described Code for America as “the technology world’s equivalent of the Peace Corps or Teach for America.” The article goes on to say, “They bring fresh blood to the solution process, deliver agile coding and software development skills, and frequently offer new perspectives on the latest technology — something that is often sorely lacking from municipal government IT programs. This is a win-win for cities that need help and for technologists that want to give back and contribute to lower government costs and the delivery of improved government service.” So what are they doing in KCK? To be fair the team is actually working in KCMO and KCK. Both cities are lucky to have been assigned Code for America’s “A”team, Andrew, Alison and Ariel. They will work as a team conducting listening and work sessions with community leaders and neighbors and with city government in a collaboration to develop a web application to solve a civic problem identified by the city in their project proposals.
On the 20th they held a session at CHWC – asking questions, sharing ideas and collecting data. It was a great session, lots of cool ideas about government sharing data and assets with the community to solve problems. They have another session this Saturday at the Kuaffman Foundation Conference Center (for details http://on.fb.me/WWlPia). The team is headed back to San Francisco in another week or so but will be returning off and on for the next year to develop apps to help government and communities work closer together to solve mutual concerns.
This is a great opportunity for both Kansas Cities. So if you haven’t been paying attention its time to wake up, smell the coffee and get involved.