Indy Civic Hack Challenges Preview

After four years, Indy Civic Hack has become a new Hoosier summer tradition. Inspired by Code for America’s National Day of Civic Hacking, Open Indy Brigade co-founder Matt Kirby organized the inaugural Indy Civic Hack in 2014 through the Indy Chamber with both city and state government officials. The idea was – and still is – to bring new technologies, methods and transparency to government.

Scott MoshierOpen Indy Brigade co-founder

“Government employees have a very difficult time bringing in new technologies and approaches due to government procurement rules,” notes Open Indy Brigade co-founder and open data advocate Scott Moshier. “So this annual hackathon is an opportunity for government officials to get outside-the-box ideas and see what new technologies can do for our community.”

The 2017 Indy Civic Hack, to be held June 16-17, takes a huge leap forward from previous years. Not only will local developers have the chance to win prizes, the City of Indianapolis and State of Indiana have crafted challenges specifically to attract a broad range of skills aimed at truly engaging citizens. Instead of asking for an app to be developed for one defined purpose, this year’s challenges ask how citizens can be more of a part of their community. Embodying the amazing rise of the technology ecosystem in the Indianapolis region, this event will be held at the new state-of-the-art Union 525 as part of INX3, a weeklong gathering designed to inspire, innovate and invest in Indiana’s booming tech infrastructure.

The first challenge asks how the City of Indianapolis can be more effective in three key areas: donation, education and engagement. How can the city promote more donations of time and resources? How can the city more effectively educate its citizens on ways to be involved in their community? How can the city more effectively engage with its citizens? The City of Indianapolis is hoping to tackle these questions and more through the creation of a “Good Citizen Toolkit.” Teams are encouraged to tackle both technical and non-technical aspects, encouraging interdisciplinary teams (e.g., developers, data engineers, UI/UX designers, product managers and community advocates) to work together on a holistic solution.

The State of Indiana’s challenge is to create an approach to connect youth who are exiting foster care with resources and information to aid in their transition. The Department of Child Services and the Office of Technology are sponsoring this challenge to help vulnerable young people at an important transition into the adult world. The State recognizes the need for new and innovative approaches and is excited to see what teams can create that will resonate with the post-millennial generation.

“Young adults who are transitioning out of foster care often don’t have the ‘safety net’ of family to help them address the complexities of becoming an adult. Ensuring they have access to important information and resources is a challenge. Through the hackathon, we hope to lay the groundwork for implementing technologies that can better connect young adults exiting foster care with valuable tools to improve their outcomes,” stated Department of Child Services Chief of Staff Doris Tolliver.

Finally, a Tableau-focused challenge asks teams to create innovative data visualization for the Mayor’s Action Center or other datasets located on http://data.indy.gov. The City’s OpenIndy portal is celebrating its 1-year anniversary and is seeking input to add to their existing roadmap. OpenIndy is key to providing both transparency and key information about the City of Indianapolis that can be used in applications to help its citizens.

The 2017 Indy Civic Hack is supported by the Indy Chamber, TechPoint, and the sponsoring organizations of IUPUI, Tableau, eimagine, KSMC, Octiv, AT&T Indiana, Nameless Catering Co., and Union 525. For those joining the festivities without a defined team, staff will be on-hand to facilitate teambuilding. Everyone is encouraged to register for this free event. Visit the Eventbrite page to RSVP today.

Scott Moshier is the Director of Technology and Implementation at Level Up Development in Indianapolis and is the co-founder of Open Indy Brigade.