Civic Innovation for the Neighborhoods — A Conversation on Civic Tech


Our urban neighborhoods provide the foundation of our personal and work based communities. Lively, interactive neighborhoods foster healthy lives and innovative new businesses.

Our April Civic Innovation Conversation will focus on what new approaches can be taken to create a richer community experience in our neighborhoods.  We will have six speakers provide five-minute perspectives on how to augment neighborhood activities, spaces and lives.  We will then follow with a breakout sessions where small groups can brainstorm on initiatives that they would like to see pursued, and perhaps lead the efforts.


5:30 – 6:00   Registration and networking
6:00 – 6:45   Short Intro followed by six speakers at five minutes each
6:45 – 7:30   Breakout into six small discussion groups
7:30 – 7:45   Group readouts
7:45 – 9:30   Post event networking

We are bringing together people from various parts of the public and private communities to kick off the conversation.

Invited speakers include:

Register for this free event on April 1 at District Hall:

Microsoft New England Picks: 4 Not-To-Miss Events This Week


March is here, and Spring is coming! Trust us. In the meantime, get inside for some awesome events! Here are three not to miss this week Microsoft New England:

Startup-Rounds1) Startup Rounds – Final Showcase & Awards
Monday, March 2, 5:30pm – 9:00pm
Twitter: @StartupRounds

10 Finalists from the Startup Rounds competition will have opportunities to demo their products, and convince judges that they have a high potential and high impact startup. Winners are presented with cash and resources. Here’s what Startup Rounds and partners are giving away:

tech-breakfast2) Boston TechBreakfast with, Spots, Ergopedia, Affectiva
Tuesday, March 3, 8:00am – 10:00am
Twitter: @TechBreakfast

Based on the popular TechBreakfast format, the Boston TechBreakfast is a “show and tell” format event where up to five different technologists will demo their technologies from a wide range of industries ranging from software to hardware, IT to Biotech, robotics to space tech. The event is “triple agnostic”. We don’t care if the technology is from a start up, a large company, a university, a government agency, or someone’s hobby. We are also agnostic as to the industry of the tech – it could be IT, biotech, robotics, aerospace, materials sciences, anything tech and innovative is cool. And we’re also region agnostic – even if you’re not from where we’re hosting, we want to see you and your technology!

14096812293) Youth CITIES: March to May Bootcamp Kickoff
Thursday, March 5, 5:30pm – 9:00pm
Twitter: @YouthCITIES

The March to May Bootcamp is designed for middle school and high school students, from any school or town, participants work with a variety of entrepreneurs to start a venture, figure out how it impacts our local community, and determine how its going to make money while driving change.

Fast-paced and exciting, a variety of influencers from the entrepreneurial ecosystem share their experiences while teaching creative problem-solving skills, fundamentals of leadership, entrepreneurship, networking, presenting/pitching (in a variety of situations).

Students compete individually or in teams to start-up and build a social venture to solve real-world problems. Everyone pitches in the Semi-finals, and the top venture ideas present to a panel of finalist judges. The strongest venture idea/pitch receives $1500 seed grant funding.

The kick-off is an opportunity for students to get a glimpse of what social entrepreneurship meet one another. Students and parents will also meet and network with some of the Youth CITIES instructors, mentors, and judges. Course curriculum and workbooks will also be handed out.

Attendees are students, parents, mentors, teachers, and various VIPs from Boston and Cambridge.

Made-In-MA4) MassDiGI: Pre PAX East “Made in MA” Party
Thursday, March 5, 4:00pm – 9:00pm 
Twitter: @mass_

Game on! MassDiGI would like to welcome all PAX East fans,  game developers, students and exhibitors to the annual party to celebrate the Massachusetts game industry and all it has to offer. Join us to experience the Massachusetts scene and meet the amazing community that has made it such a success. This great event will take place on March 5th, the evening before PAX East starts, and we are expecting a packed house with more than 1500 guests!

CodeAcross Boston: Boston as a “Living Lab for Civic Technology”

This past weekend at the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, roughly 100 participants came together for the annual CodeAcross event. The event, which took place in nearly 60 cities across the US and in far-reaching places like Pakistan, Brazil, and Australia, brought together technologists, community members, and government and municipal workers for a weekend of collaboration, discussion, and coding.


Locally, Code for Boston collaborated with MassIT, the Commonwealth’s IT agency, on the two-day event. In his opening remarks, Bill Oates, Commonwealth CIO, reflected on his years at the City of Boston— where they approached the urban landscape as a living lab for civic technology. In his current role at the state, Oates is working to apply that same approach to scale civic technology projects at a broader level.

Teams formed and spent the remainder of the weekend working towards solutions to civic and community problems using special weekend access to MassIT’s open data pilot, MassData. During final presentations on Sunday, groups pitched their projects and solicited feedback from the crowd.

Unsurprisingly, weather and transit were topics at the forefront of the discussion and a variety of projects focused on solving these problems.

Three developers – David Lago, Geoffrey Litt, and Radhika Malik formed a team that built and launched, described as “Waze for the T,” a means of crowd-sourcing transit delay data and providing alternate routes from actual riders.

Addressing snow concerns, participants Rob Lundberg and Ari Roshko conducted a brainstorming and research session into the community culture surrounding parking space savers following snowstorms. “This is a community issue we’re trying to solve,” Lundberg said. “It’s more a sociological problem than a technical one.”

Dan Moore, Web Master for the City of Somerville presented his group’s project, an open 311 tracker for the city. “We want to be the Domino’s pizza tracker for 311 in Somerville,” Moore said. The project, called aims to more transparency to 311 data.

Smaller municipalities also contributed to the event as a team headed by Kendra Amaral, Assistant Town Manager and Director of Human Resources for the Town of Wilmington, MA created a cross-silo data integration application called the Property Dashboard. “We’re not all Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville,” Amaral said during her team’s presentation. “We don’t all have big IT departments but we still need access to this information.”

Additionally projects addressed a rating system for foster homes to empower the government to improve the foster system,, a community-powered repository that allows inventors to disclose inventions while addressing IP concerns.

In total, CodeAcross was a huge success thanks to the collaborative work of Code for Boston and MassIT and with the support of Microsoft New England and the MIT Media Lab. Mariko Davidson, open data lead and innovation fellow for MassIT summed it up, “From my perspective, CodeAcross provided an ideal opportunity for us to engage with Boston’s local civic innovation and technology community and foster open and proactive state government.”

CodeAcross Boston 2015 — Told In Tweets!

More than 100 participants gathered at Media Lab this past weekend to code for a better Boston at #CodeAcross Boston 2015. Organized by our local brigade, Code for Boston, as well as the MassIT, the event was filled with all kinds of great ideas for how civic tech can improve our city.

We gathered some tweets from the weekend, ICYMI:

Microsoft New England Picks: 4 Not-To-Miss Events This Week


Winter is definitely here. Time to get inside for some awesome events! Here are three not to miss this week Microsoft New England:

Playcrafting-boston1) Playcrafting Boston Winter Expo
Tuesday, February 24, 5:00pm – 9:00pm
Twitter: @PlaycraftingBOS

Fifty game developers will be showing off their latest games one-on-one to a crowd of 300 people. For developers, this is a great opportunity for their games (finished or unfinished) to get direct feedback from players. For everyone else, it’s a unique opportunity to try out the biggest collection of games made in and around Boston all in one place. Each game gets its own booth as players meet the developers and try out their games. Throw pizza into the mix and you get Playcrafting’s biggest event!

For Developers:
Please fill out the online form for your game to be considered for entry. We’ll reach out to confirm inclusion.

For Attendees:
You must register on Eventbrite. $8 Early Bird / $15 Full Price. Please include your first and last name when you RSVP. Your name must be on the list to get past building security. Also, all guests must RSVP on their own. See you all there!

startupinstboston2) Startup Institute Boston: Startup Rock Climbing Series: What Does It Mean To Embrace Failure
Tuesday, February 24, 6:30pm – 8:30pm at Brooklyn Boulders, Somerville
Twitter: @StartupInstBOS @BKBSomerville

Embracing failure – it’s something that people love to say, but people rarely know how to do. Liz Gottbrecht will lead a discussion about how to define failure, how it relates to creating an environment of learning, and how to create a work culture that embraces it. She’ll also discuss how sometimes things that are perceived as a great success outwardly may actually be a failure. Liz is the Director of Marketing at Streetwise Media, the digital media and events company that operates city news properties BostInno, Chicago Inno, and DC Inno, and the recently launched Streetwise Studio. Failure is the single consistent element to any success she’s experienced.

PDMA3) Creativity: It’s Not Just About the Front End of Innovation
Thursday, February 26, 5:00pm – 9:00pm
Twitter: @PDMA_Boston

Creativity, the production of novel ideas that serve a purpose, is the starting point for innovation and an essential input for growth in our companies and in our economy at large. But creativity also has application well beyond the front end of innovation and can be deliberately invoked to assist with challenges and opportunities presented at all stages of new product development.

Learn how creativity operates, how to apply it to challenges, how to elicit it within your team and what’s required from your organization to support it. Join the Greater Boston PDMA on Thursday, February 26th to hear a presentation by Courtney Zwart, who will address these questions and more and will provide you with tangible actions that you can take to both apply and harness creativity in your organization. Register now for this event and network with other product development, product management and innovation professionals in the Boston area.

Courtney Zwart, Consultant – Innovation & Creative Problem Solving

boston techcrunch4) TechCrunch Boston Meetup + Pitch-Off
Thursday, February 26, 6:00pm – 8:30pm @ The Estate, Boston
Twitter: @TechCrunch

TechCrunch’s legendary meetup + pitch-off event is coming to Boston this Thursday, February 26th! It all takes place at The Estate at 1 Boylston Street.

TechCrunch wants to see Boston’s tech community come out in droves to enjoy beer, good conversation, and a battle to the death to see which entrepreneurs can dazzle and excite the judges in under sixty seconds.

The stage is set for 10 Startups to pitch their products to a panel of judges which will include TechCrunch writers and local VCs.

First Place in the Pitch-Off will receive a table in Startup Alley at an upcoming TechCrunch Disrupt. Second Place will receive (2) tickets to an upcoming TechCrunch Disrupt. Third Place will receive (1) ticket to the upcoming TechCrunch Disrupt.

CodeAcross Boston 2015 — Civic Hacking for a Better Boston


This weekend, February 21-22 at the MIT Media Lab, Code for Boston is teaming up with MassIT, the Commonwealth’s IT department, and other local municipal partners to bring you CodeAcross Boston 2015. The local chapter of the national civic technology non-profit Code for America, Code for Boston is a group of volunteer designers, developers, researchers, community organizers, and engaged citizens who work to make their communities better places to live, work, and play.

Photos from #CodeAcross 2014 at MSNE

Photos from #CodeAcross Boston 2014 at MSNE

With generous support from Microsoft New England, this year’s CodeAcross is set to be the largest yet. The nearly sold-out event will involve 130+ people from across the Greater Boston area including technologists, government and municipal workers, and community members.

The goal for this year’s two-day event is to inspire collaboration, discussion, and civic hacking to find solutions to the greatest problems faced by our communities. This year, CodeAcross coincides with International Open Data Day so participants will also be utilizing open data sets from across the state to support their work.

“We’re really looking to use CodeAcross as an opportunity to start thinking about ways to address civic issues in our communities,” Harlan Weber, Code for Boston’s Brigade Captain said. “Emphasis on startWe’re looking at this event as the kickoff of a new slate of community-driven civic innovation projects in 2015, and we hope that all of the projects continue after CodeAcross through Code for Boston and in collaboration with our municipal partners.”

As organizers, Code for Boston hopes that the informal atmosphere of collaboration at this year’s CodeAcross event will allow all participating groups – government and municipal employees, community members, and technologists – to work together in an environment that fosters discussion, partnership, and problem-solving. The event will incorporate thematic tracks addressing public safety and justice, health and human services, economic development, and citizen engagement. Participant projects may take several forms: teams may make policy recommendations, develop a data-visualization, create a business plan for a civic startup, or any number of other project ideas. All good ideas are welcome. We are looking forward to a lively event resulting in a number of exciting projects for the year to come.

Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 7.57.22 AMKristen Weber is the Communications Lead for Code for Boston. She has been involved with Code for Boston since its inception in 2012. Kristen is a freelance writer and editor who specializes in business, technology, and the non-profit sector.

Microsoft New England Picks: 5 Not-To-Miss Events This Week


Winter is definitely here. Time to get inside for some awesome events! Here are three not to miss this week Microsoft New England:

tech-breakfast1) Boston TechBreakfast with HoppinIn, Rejjee, Inc., iClinical Inc, HireAction
Tuesday, February 17, 8:00am – 10:00am
Twitter: @TechBreakfast @HoppinIn @RejjeeApp @iClinicalData @HireAction

Based on the popular TechBreakfast format, the Boston TechBreakfast is a “show and tell” format event where up to five different technologists will demo their technologies from a wide range of industries ranging from software to hardware, IT to Biotech, robotics to space tech. The event is “triple agnostic”. We don’t care if the technology is from a start up, a large company, a university, a government agency, or someone’s hobby. We are also agnostic as to the industry of the tech – it could be IT, biotech, robotics, aerospace, materials sciences, anything tech and innovative is cool. And we’re also region agnostic – even if you’re not from where we’re hosting, we want to see you and your technology!

boston-new-tech2) Boston New Technology February 2015 Product Showcase
Tuesday, February 17, 6:00pm
Twitter: @BostonNewTech #BNT50

Celebrate our 50th Boston New Technology Product Showcase!

Free event! Come learn about 7 innovative and exciting technology products and network with the Boston/Cambridge startup community! Each presenter gets 5 minutes for product demonstration and 5 minutes for Q&A. Please follow @BostonNewTech and use the #BNT50 hashtag in social media posts: details here.

challenge-cup17763) 1776 Challenge Cup: Regionals
Thursday, February 19, 5:30pm – 9:00pm
Twitter: @1776 #1776Challenge

Challenge Cup is a global competition to identify the most promising startups focused on solving the world’s biggest challenges in education, energy & sustainability, health, and transportation & cities.

4) Global Urban Datafest: Smart Cities Challenge 
Saturday, February 21, 8:30am – 7:00pm @ Harvard Innovation Lab
Twitter: @DataFestNet #SmartCityHack

global-urban-datafestThe Challenge: Join us and work with Massachusetts cities to solve real challenges they face. Help Holyoke develop solutions to improve its pedestrian experience & support Somerville measure the impact of its city services.

Who Should Participate: Everyone! You don’t need to be a technology expert to participate… We’re looking for business thinkers, policy analysts, journalists, designers, community organizers, urban planners, or anyone else who is interested in solving real urban challenges.

Find more information + register here.

Code-for-boston5) CodeAcross Boston
Saturday, February 21, 9:00am – Sunday, February 22, 2:00pm
Twitter: @CodeForBoston #CodeAcross

Please join Code for Boston for a weekend of discussion, civic hacking, and data-driven exploration at our second annual CodeAcross event on February 21-22, 2015.

This year, Code for Boston is collaborating with MassIT, the IT department for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; our municipal partners; and local community groups to use state and local data in exploring the civic and social issues that face our local communities. The issues that we are focusing on this year are around public safety and justice, health and human services, economic development, and citizen engagement, and celebrating open data in MA as part of International Open Data Day.

At CodeAcross, we’ll bring together government employees, technologists, and regular citizens to start working together on creative solutions to some of these issues. We’re aiming for CodeAcross to have something for everyone – this is definitely not a just-for-coders type of event – by combining the best elements of unconferences and hackathons.

We can’t wait to see you all for a couple days of collaboration, problem solving, and civic hacking!

2015 MassChallenge Global Launch

Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 6.01.59 PM

This week marked the official launch of MassChallenge’s 2015 startup accelerators—across the globe! At three simultaneous events, MassChallenge opened applications for each of its programs: in Boston, Israel, and for the first time, in the UK.

An estimated 200 startups will participate in the four-month accelerators here in Boston as well as in London, getting free resources like mentorships, office space and access to a global network. Masschallenge finalists will compete for millions in cash awards.

In case you missed it, head to MassChallenge’s blog for a Storify recap—the events told in tweets!

Applications for all three programs are open from February 11 through April 1. Entrepreneurs can apply here:

Microsoft New England Picks: 3 Not-To-Miss Events This Week


Winter is definitely here. Time to get inside for some awesome events! Here are three not to miss this week Microsoft New England:

*NOTE: Today’s Boston TechBreakfast has been rescheduled to next Tuesday, February 17 from 8am-10am.

MassChallenge1) MassChallenge Boston Launch
Wednesday, February 11, 10:30am – 12:30pm
Twitter: @MassChallenge #MCLaunch2015

The MassChallenge Launch Event is the official kickoff for MassChallenge 2015’s global activities to recruit top startups from the USA, the UK, Israel, and beyond to apply for the world’s largest startup accelerator.

2) InnerCity Weightlifting Hard Hat Happy Hour
Wednesday, February 11, 6:30pm-10:00pm
Twitter: @ICWeightlifting @TUGGorg @insightsquared

MjwjDBDOJoin TUGG & InsightSquared as we welcome InnerCity Weightlifting to the neighborhood at the Hard Hat Happy Hour Wednesday, 2/11 at 6:30pm (Tickets: $5).

ICW’s talented team is moving to Kendall Square to continue building on its brilliant community-based model that provides opportunity for Boston’s youth and fitness training for the public. Their new, state-of-the-art gym will be just around the corner from your office, your favorite coffee shop, and the T.*

* You’ll learn the top secret party location after you RSVP.

This is an exclusive opportunity for Kendall Square entrepreneurs, innovators, businesses, and residents to check out the new gym and sign up for personal training memberships before anyone else. On top of grabbing some face time with the masterminds behind ICW and touring the raw fitness space, you’ll enjoy: pizza, beer, fitness challenges, cool swag, music, prizes, and more.

Tickets are limited, so register today!

CoderDojo-logo3) Kids Learn to Code: Python Session with CoderDojo
Saturday, February 14, 1:00pm – 3:00pm
Twitter: @CoderDojoCRiver

IMPORTANT NOTE: No sessions on Feb 7th. This Feb 14 session will be our last in this series. Our next series location and dates are TBA.


1) You must have attended the prior Python sessions.


2) You must have completed the Scratch course AND/OR have familiarity with scratch or some other block programming language – so the concepts of loops, variables, If-Then are at least somewhat familiar.

Please be sure to bring a laptop and charger. If you need a laptop please let us know by emailing [masked]

For more info, head to the Meetup page.

3 Not-To-Miss Events This Week at Microsoft New England


Photos from this weekend’s CoderDojo Kids Learn to Code workshops! via @CoderDojoCRiver

Winter is definitely here. Time to get inside for some awesome events! Here are three not to miss this week Microsoft New England:

*NOTE: Tomorrow’s Boston TechBreakfast has been rescheduled to next Monday, February 9 from 8am-10am.

analytics-week1) #AnalyticsFair – Boston Data Analytics Career Fair
Tuesday, February 3, 5:00pm – 9:00pm
Twitter: @AnalyticsWeek #AnalyticsFair

A Job Fair to bring the best of #DataScience professionals and Rockstar Companies under one roof.

Join us for an @AnalyticsWeek’s #AnalyticsFair evening to strengthen your community bond as well as learn, share and network along-with industry thought-leaders and recruiters.

mass-digi2) MassDiGI Game Challenge
Friday, February 6 – Saturday, February 7, 8:00am-6:00pm
Twitter: @mass_digi

The MassDiGI Game Challenge is a one-of-a-kind competition and event that helps aspiring game developers launch new games. 2015 will be the 4th annual event, all previous ones have been held at MS New England. Featuring panel discussions, keynote talks and more – you won’t want to miss this! A general admission ticket gives you the chance to check out everything, hear the talks, listen to the panels, network and have a blast!

ID-hack3) ID Hack 2015 Meetup
Friday, February 6, 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Twitter: @IDHack2015

MIT Global Poverty Initiative, Harvard Developers for Development, Tufts Entrepreneurs Society, and Tufts Empower are working together to host the third annual ID Hack on February 13 – 14 at Tufts University. ID Hack is an international development hackathon which facilitates collaboration between technologists and NGO field workers to better enhance service delivery. This informal gathering allows talented, enthusiastic students from MIT, Harvard, and Tufts to meet each other prior to the hackathon and form teams for the hackathon. Learn more about the event at