July 19 lightning talks: empathy, inclusion and progress

Published on Jul 21, 2016 by Derek Eder

The Chi Hack Night crowd awaits the start of Lightning Talks! Part Deux
The Chi Hack Night crowd awaits the start of Lightning Talks! Part Deux

On July 19th 2016, we heard from 9 members of Chi Hack Night on the projects they’ve worked on and the lessons they’ve learned from our community.

Though there was no defined theme or coordination among the presenters, all 9 talks ended up focusing on the topics of empathy, inclusion and progress.

Over the years as a community, we’ve learned about our city, ourselves and what we’re capable of. Each of the talks listed below are a testament to that growth. You can also watch the YouTube playlist here.

1. Derek Eder: March 22nd, 2012, The First Hack Night

Derek tells the story of how the first hack night came to be on March 22nd, 2012.



2. Steven Vance: Mapping in Europe

Steven Vance describes his experience mapping on OSM with the Dutch Red Cross.



3. Eureka Foong: Why Ignorance Matters at Hack Night

After participating in several groups at hacknight, including Access to Justice, Eureka learned that “hackers” are motivated to improve their own skills. But how can we also improve the projects we work on? The answer lies in finding a happy middle in ignorance.



4. Rebecca Jones: Predicting E. Coli Exceedances on Chicago Beaches

Rebecca shares her results and reflections on collaborative data science project. A brief look at how the model built through Chi Hack Night can improve on the City of Chicago’s current warning system for E. Coli exceedances.



5. Cathy Deng: Hacking for Inclusion

Cathy debuts a small project that can nudge us to be more mindful & inclusive at Chi Hack Night: AreMenTalkingTooMuch.com.



6. Emily Zvolanek: Access to Justice Update

The Access to Justice group operates a little bit differently than a standard civic hacking group. Emily provides an update of what they’ve been doing and what they hope to accomplish.



7. Claire Micklin: My Building Doesn’t Recycle: The Final Frontier?

Since Claire’s last lightning talk, there have been some exciting developments with My Building Doesn’t Recycle. A stronger recycling ordinance was introduced by the Mayor’s office and passed City Council on July 20.

How did the app have its desired impact? What are the ingredients of an app that gets the attention of policymakers?



8. Benjamin Cooper: Learning to Listen

When we create Civic Tech, we are inherently subscribing to some sort of vision of what we want our community to be. All of us have different values but broadly speaking, we want to make our community better for everyone.

Ben describes a problem with this: the people building this tech probably live very different lives that the majority of people in our community. In that context, listening to the community and learning from it to deploy our skills in the right direction is important.



9. Nick Mader: Hackers and the Mob

A true lightning talk about mob programming at Chi Hack Night – what it is, why it’s so satisfying, and why it is an important part of our community.


About the author


Derek is an entrepreneur, developer and one of the leaders of the civic technology community in Chicago. He is a co-founder and partner at DataMade — a company that tells stories and builds tools with data — and is the lead organizer for Chi Hack Night.