Community Engagement Launchpads: An Explication
I felt like it might be appropriate to define more precisely what is meant by the term “Community Engagement Launchpad” events. These are events (likely held every other month, rotating with more traditional Buildnights that take place with greater frequency) that are structured in such a way that anyone and everyone can make a meaningful contribution.
1. Goal of a CE Launchpad Event
The goal is not so much to produce a perfect product as it is getting community residents involved in the process of civic technology, and helping them realize they, too, can make a difference. In other words, the goal is community engagement.
2. Scope of CE Launchpad Projects
These are events that focus on addressing a project idea generated either at a Community Input Event or on the Community Input category of this forums in a lean manner. Ideally, community launchpad events will be structured in such a way as to allow frictionless ongoing contributions from participants long after the night has ended.
The project should solve some civic need, but it need not be visionary in its approach or vast in its scale. The goal isn’t to build a complex code-intensive project. Rather, it is to have as many different residents from different neighborhoods and different backgrounds together in a shared physical space to work collaboratively on some digital artifact that improves their communities. This fosters a sense of community investment in the Brigade’s work, and allows opportunity for participation, feedback and experential learning from residents who may otherwise not interact with the Brigade.
3. CE Launchpads vs. more traditional hacknights
Community Engagement (CE) Launchpads need not be part of a larger project, and they are only one of a variety of different ‘hacknight’ style events the Brigade hosts. They are education-focused and experentially-motivated first an foremost. They are not meant to solve in a single swoop complex problems.
4. Launchpads can lead to more
Assuming a CE Launchpad goes well, it can be maintained and grown into a more mature effort deserving of possibly even beta release. A CE project will always be open-source.