This weekend at Code Switch, creative minds — engaged residents, developers, activists, public servants, designers, journalists, data scientists, nonprofit employees, artists, UX designers, neighbors — will come together to co-create solutions that have a positive social impact on our communities.
Hackathon projects will focus on the core pillars Mayor Melvin Carter has introduced for the city of Saint Paul: Economic Justice and Inclusion, Lifelong Learning, and Community First Public Safety. Mayor Carter will speak to kick off the weekend of coding and co-creation, along with a panel of community leaders who work to advance those core pillars every day.
Panelist Tawanna Black is the founder and CEO of the Center for Economic Inclusion, dedicated to strengthening Minneapolis-St. Paul’s civic infrastructure to advance an inclusive economy. Before this weekend’s event, she answered a few questions about the value of a hackathon for community solutions.
SfG: What do you think the value is of an event like Code Switch where people come together to solve problems?
Tawanna Black: The power of a diverse group of people using technology is always significant~ but when you couple that with the innovation of creative problem solvers who are addressing some of the toughest challenges in our community through an asset based lens, and marry that with philanthropy and civic leadership, the results can be exponential.
In this case, we don’t have to talk about it in the “can be” sense, because there’s real promise, real value — we have real innovators, real entrepreneurs, real tech enthusiasts who are committed to aligning and combining their efforts to co-create change for all of us.
Beyond that — I think the real value will come from the learning and relationships that take place at Code Switch. When we come together across difference for common purpose, we learn different ways of seeing the world, of seeing problems and solutions, and those new perspectives will fuel our beliefs and approaches to problem solving for months and years to come.
How would you like to see technology used in the area of Economic Justice and Inclusion?
We need more data driven systems and decision making in our economic inclusion ecosystem. We have quantitative and qualitative data all around us, but too often, it’s not accessible in relevant ways. I would like to see our human services data and our workforce data talk to each other, our nonprofit data, public sector data, and private sector data talk to each other — and that requires systems solutions that technology can solve.
What would be your dream project to see coming out of this year’s Code Switch?
The sky is the limit~ and I actually won’t even dare to dream~ I am hoping to see youth suggest projects for this years Code Switch and I’m anxious to get behind one of those ideas!
Hear more about the power of co-creating community solutions from another Code Switch speaker: Jason Sole, Initiatives Director of Community First Public Safety for the City of Saint Paul.