June 1-2, 2013 is National Day of Civic Hacking. A common problem with Hackathons is that people without programming skills get left behind due to the pressure of having to build something in such a short amount of time. However, the development of technologies for social good are greatly enhanced when they can be designed in concert with the communities that will eventually use them.
In order to reach a compromise between these two competing interests, Civic Lab is going to be holding a few workshops leading up to National Day of Civic Hacking for technologists and community groups to meet and develop some ideas so that on the NDoCH they can hit the ground running. Participation in NDoCH is not a requirement for these workshops, the skills will be discussing will be useful for everyone.
In the first of this series, we'll start right at the beginning - meeting people. Greg Baugues from Table XI will be giving a talk on "How To Be The Most Interesting Man In The World", a guide for the socially awkward to hack face to face conversations by treating them as an engineering challenge. We'll also take a look at a short video of a TED talk by Amy Smith of MIT's D-Lab to see what we can learn from her experience designing a cheap, simple, and practical tool for turning farm waste into clean-burning fuel; a tool that can help prevent the deaths of more than 2 million children who die from indoor cooking fumes each year.