Tech startups often get a bad wrap for churning out impractical gizmos.
It’s not hard to see why when a search of the app store turns up hundreds of applications that all turn on your phone’s flashlight, and even more knockoffs of a popular angry, bird-bombing game.
The free event — which is taking place June 4 and 5 — seeks to bring volunteers together to solve specific civic problems, said Paul Barham, brigade captain for Code for America Brigade.
“National Day of Civic Hacking is a nationwide day of action,” Barham said. “Developers, government employees, designers, journalists, data scientists, non-profit employees, UX designers, and residents who care about their communities come together to host civic tech events leveraging their skills to help their community.”
Attendees will form teams to solve specific problems for several Kansas City civic organizations. Challenges include everything from developing a mobile outreach program for health-related resources to finding better ways to connect the city’s homeless population to much-needed assistance.
Now in its fourth year, Hack Kansas City has grown and changed since its inception, said Barham. It now focuses on creating solutions for specific challenges that civically-minded residents can solve together, he added.
“In the beginning it was a normal hackathon where people brought ideas and worked on them for just the weekend,” he said. “We now go out and look for people who have a problem they want solved and then find volunteers work on these projects for up to a year. The weekend event is more team formation and initial design.”