Collaborations


Dispatches and ruminations from the behind the scenes team, presenters, attendees, and friends.

Diverse Resources Available For Government Tech

Comment

Diverse Resources Available For Government Tech

Civic technology has grown exponentially since Tim O’Reilly first spoke about Government 2.0 and government as a platform in 2009. I often get inquiries about resources for entrepreneurs in this market, so I’ve compiled a few suggestions for finding supportive resources. 

In addition to the growing government technology market, there has been a rapid increase in resources available to government technology companies, housed within and outside of government. 

Comment

Continue reading →

How the US Can Lead the Way in IoT

Comment

How the US Can Lead the Way in IoT

Just as the launch of Apple’s first iPhone changed the world in July 2007 --shaking up the smartphone industry by providing consumers with pocket computers -- Apple may very well do it again in 2015 when it ships its Apple Watch. Although the exact date is yet to be announced, shipments are expected to reach 30 to 60 million units in the first year. Should this occur, we will have no other choice but to welcome the Internet of Things (IoT) onto our wrists and into our.  IoT will no longer simply be a ‘buzzword’ to describe the next wave of interconnectivity – it will be part of humans’ daily lifestyle at work and play. 

Comment

Continue reading →

Getting Books Into the Hands of Learners: The Tracking and Tracing Books Global Prize

1 Comment

Getting Books Into the Hands of Learners: The Tracking and Tracing Books Global Prize

In Arlington County, Virginia, where I recently had two kids in elementary school, I knew there were a variety of “garden” paths for my children to have access to textbooks and other reading materials – in their classrooms, nearby libraries and at home. Unfortunately, in the majority of the countries where I work in international development, there simply is not dependable access to reading materials in classrooms and communities. This is just one of the challenges to delivering early grade instruction to the estimated 250 million children across the globe who are not learning basic literacy and numeracy skills – skills that we, as parents and community members, know are essential to unlocking their potential.

1 Comment

Continue reading →

The Millennial Love Affair With Entrepreneurship

Comment

The Millennial Love Affair With Entrepreneurship

Amid the social media mavens and “boomerang kids” of Generation Y, there lies a budding coterie of successful entrepreneurs.

According to a generational research review conducted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, approximately one half to two-thirds of millennials are interested in entrepreneurship, with 27 percent already self-employed.

Comment

Continue reading →

Political Advocacy: The "User Feedback" of Government

Comment

Political Advocacy: The "User Feedback" of Government

I often hear skeptics claim that tech and politics do not (and should not) mix. Tech is fast, efficient, and innovative, while government is slow, overly bureaucratic, and wasteful. But in reality, our democracy parallels the start-up model more than you might initially suspect.

As the Director of National Organizing at FWD.us, I work alongside both successful entrepreneurs and leading policy makers. And from my experience, what do these two groups most share in common? A strong emphasis on feedback.

Comment

Continue reading →

5 Things to Do Before You Start A New Job

1 Comment

5 Things to Do Before You Start A New Job

According to an M.I.T. professor’s survey, more than one-half of U.S. tech sector employees are required to sign employee noncompete agreements. These contracts are often overlooked in the rush to obtain and begin a new job. They can harm a career, however, in unexpected ways.

1 Comment

Continue reading →

How To Meet People At Events

Comment

How To Meet People At Events

You walk into an event where you plan to meet people. 
You check-in at the front table. 
You walk to the bar & order a drink.
You stand next to said drink & start praying.
You pray someone will come over & say hi.
You check your breath & your zipper. Hrm...
Sound familiar?

I'm right there with you. If I'm hosting, I'm talking to everyone. If I'm not, that "you" up there is me. We're all uncomfortable when we're out of our comfort zones. We don't want to be "that guy" interrupting a group of smiling, happy people chatting about their favorite TV show. We don't want to be the weird guy no one talks to. We also want to meet the people at the event. It's why we went!

Comment

Continue reading →

My Big Idea: IoT for Everyone

1 Comment

My Big Idea: IoT for Everyone

For quite some time you’ve heard the term “internet of things.” Somewhat of a buzz term I know, but from where I sit, we’re finally starting to see some of the more farfetched IoT concepts become real. So where do it sit? I sit in local government. As the Chief Innovation Officer for Montgomery County, Maryland, I work closely with agencies delivering direct service to residents. On a daily basis I work with fire fighters, inspectors, police, nurses, teachers and many other public servants. I also interact with researchers from Harvard, MIT, UC-Irvine, University of Maryland, NIST, and many other research institutions. Part of my job is to be the bridge between the front line and the laboratory. What I’m finally starting to see on the horizon are affordable, connected devices that increase safety, improve health, and provide critical information to first responders. The public sector plays an important role in making that a reality. 

1 Comment

Continue reading →

International Perspectives on the Internet of Everything: A Q&A with Dr. David A. Bray

1 Comment

International Perspectives on the Internet of Everything: A Q&A with Dr. David A. Bray

1. David, you’re headed out with the Eisenhower Fellowship to discuss the Internet of Everything in Taiwan & Australia. Could you fill us in on the reasons you’re taking this trip?

Happy to share details. The Eisenhower Fellowship [https://efworld.org] (EF) is intended to be an opportunity for individuals wanting to build bridges across borders and work together to make the world more peaceful, prosperous and just. As part of my EF experience, I’ll be traveling to both Taiwan and Australia for five weeks to meet with their industry and government leaders on the topic of regional cyber strategies for the Internet of Everything (IoE). This will be in a non-official, personal capacity.

1 Comment

Continue reading →

Welcome To Collaborate! Coffee (And Community) Is On Us.

Comment

Welcome To Collaborate! Coffee (And Community) Is On Us.

It’s amazing what can start in a coffee shop. These days, you can stop in virtually any Starbucks in cities big and small and find people creating businesses from scratch. No longer content with the typical 9-to-5 life, more and more self-starters are heading down the street for a snack, wifi, and a place to work. In the process they are building communities and networks to help one another.

A coffee shop was the backdrop for the founding of Fosterly, the community for entrepreneurs I helped build here in Washington DC. That sense of “let’s get together over a hot cup of joe and help each other out” is something you used to only find in incubators and venture capital-funded accelerators. Now, it’s as common as the corner cafe. We’ve even seen this spirit of cooperative innovation and entrepreneurship find it’s way into the local, state, and federal levels of government, driving more responsive public services.

 

Comment

Continue reading →

Be Prepared to Collaborate!

Comment

Be Prepared to Collaborate!

Collaborate DC is an event that offers great opportunities for those that are prepared to learn and share. The amazing lineup of high-profile speakers, workshop moderators and roundtables will draw a crowd of movers and shakers that are eager to form partnerships and alliances that will drive future business.

However, this isn’t a time for “star-gazing” but rather a time for telling your personal story and sharing your big ideas in a concise but compelling way. Some people call it your “elevator speech,” but to me that seems to convey more of a “pitching” approach that can often be a turn-off.

Comment

Continue reading →

How To Grow An Inclusive Innovation Ecosystem

Comment

How To Grow An Inclusive Innovation Ecosystem

Over the years, I’ve written extensively about seeding innovation ecosystems in developing and transition economies. Traditionally, models from innovation-driven economies are deployed in developing nations. Failure is often the result, due to local needs, capacities and solutions being ignored. The creation of sustainable economies requires supportive ecosystems that are contextualized: steeped in the local sense of place.

Comment

Continue reading →

5 Networking Tips To Try At Your Next Happy Hour

Comment

5 Networking Tips To Try At Your Next Happy Hour

D.C. is the home of happy hours—especially networking happy hours. Every introduction there is the chance for a new job, a new client or a new business partner for your fledgling startup. Here are the best networking tips to make solid connections in any career field.

Boost your confidence

Networking begins before you enter the bar. Stocking up on business cards, finding the right outfit, boosting your confidence. If the last one seems a little trickier than the rest, take a deep breath and know it only takes two minutes to feel like you’re on top of the world. It’s called power posing and it works for networking events, job interviews or even high school reunions (worked on all three for me!). Simply make yourself appear larger, like putting your arms on your hips or standing up tall to take up space, and your brain convinces you that you’re the alpha dog. All in just two minutes.

Ask for a favor

Sure, even with all that confidence, it can be nerve-racking asking someone you’ve known for five minutes to send your resume to their hiring manager. But not only are people eager to grant favors when asked, they’re also more likely to help you the second time around, according to Benjamin Franklin (he did know a thing or two about diplomacy, after all). So get gutsy and just ask. If they do help, follow up with a thank-you email. Bonus points for a handwritten note.

Return the favor

Networking doesn’t work if you make it all about you. Look out for others’ interests as much as your own, instead of repeatedly asking for favors from the same person. If you hear someone has grant writing experience, introduce her to your friend who’s running a non-prof. Even if your kindness doesn’t pay off immediately, they might keep you in mind for another opportunity later down the road.

Get their info

Admit it: You’re not using business cards as best as you could. After a few hours of networking, those cards pile up and names and faces start to blur. Here’s a trick to put that collection of cards to better use. On the card itself, write down where you met the connection, when you met them and an interesting fact about them, like where they went to school or whether or not they think Shake Shack is overrated. Then immediately when you get home…

Follow up

Send them an email or connect on LinkedIn with a personalized message. A simple “Great meeting you tonight! Thanks for telling me more about the marketing opportunities at Capital One. I look forward to having you as a connection.” This way, they’ll be more likely to remember you when future opportunities arise. If you two discussed a call-to-action, like meeting for lunch or sending over a resume, now is the time to do it.

Karmen Fox is a freelance writer for The Baltimore Sun. She is also the Content Campaign Manager for Digital District and Gray Street Solutions. When she’s not hitting the networking scene, you can find her geeking out about TV and travel on Twitter @KarmenFox.

Comment

Continue reading →

Government Innovation: Disrupting Diplomacy For The Better

Comment

Government Innovation: Disrupting Diplomacy For The Better

Digital diplomacy has become a sexy topic. It’s trending. But, what is often lacking from the conversation is insight beyond a government learning to Tweet or some diplomat’s faux pas. Technology’s impact on diplomacy is much deeper. 

Comment

Continue reading →

Improvise Your Way to More of the Best Ideas

Comment

Improvise Your Way to More of the Best Ideas

The truth is that there are such things as bad ideas in brainstorming – also called idea generation or ideation. Another truth is that it’s okay. Ideation, especially in the early stages of product or service development, is about playing the percentages – the more ideas, the more opportunity you create for the best ones to come to the surface.

It has become a bit trendy to deny the value of a come-one-come-all approach to brainstorming. Some view it as a bit hippy dippy. Others view it as risky since it doesn’t allow for known constraints to be applied. But encouraging both bad and good ideas to be shared is actually the least risky option you can take. Prematurely stopping what David and Tom Kelley of IDEO have called “idea flow” actually limits the potential to get the best ideas. Beyond playing the numbers game, having a small number of ideas encourages people to get territorial and defensive of them, which only further limits possibility.

Comment

Continue reading →

My Big Idea: Democracy Should Be Data-Driven

Comment

My Big Idea: Democracy Should Be Data-Driven

We experience government offline everyday; when we eat at a local restaurant, we can expect clean and healthy food; when we visit a local playground, we can expect safe, maintained play spaces. 

But how do we experience government online? In the 21st century, we’re used to a wide range of online services for entertainment, shopping, and news. With each new year comes more online services as we move further into a data-driven economy. However, as government moves to leverage the advantages of an online format or presence, we move further into a data-driven democracy as well.

Comment

Continue reading →

The DC Nightowl: How A Federal Contractor Turned Entrepreneur

Comment

The DC Nightowl: How A Federal Contractor Turned Entrepreneur

Rarely have I used the word “entrepreneur” in my conversations.  To me, it is a word that represents a certain type of person who has earned it with more than one successful business venture. It lacks a certain sincerity for us first timers.  It is even recommended in a lot of circles to “fake it until you make it.” To describe individuals who want to create a project, product, or service from scratch, regardless of their entrepreneurial track record, we go by “self-starters”.  We do it for market opportunity and reward, but also because its who we are. Over the past 3 years, I’ve explored what this means in community discussions at the DC Nightowls meetup group, and the newly created DC Earlybirds meetup.

Comment

Continue reading →

My Big Idea: We Can Do So Much More With Big Data

Comment

My Big Idea: We Can Do So Much More With Big Data

Big Data projects are so fearful of invading privacy or singling out individuals that they miss out on tons of real, actionable insights. Instead, they report on broad trends and generalizations that are sometimes so obvious or superficial that they have almost no value. But what if we could get more, and do more with our data? What if we could take a massive volume of data, and tailor benefit down to the individual? Better yet, what if the individual became an advocate of our system, thus improving the quality and volume of data?

Comment

Continue reading →

Why The Dingman Center Thinks Networking Is Crucial

Comment

Why The Dingman Center Thinks Networking Is Crucial

Networking. It’s like cilantro; you love it or hate it. Very few are in the middle. For students, the idea of networking is often new coming into college. Because networking is so important in the jobs race students know that somewhere along their college career someone will teach them about networking. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 70 percent of jobs are found through networking. At the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship we take it a step beyond job placement by teaching our students that building a network is an important step for founders or anyone who wants to become part of the startup ecosystem.  

Comment

Continue reading →

How To Use Visual Content To Engage Your Audience

Comment

How To Use Visual Content To Engage Your Audience

The world is filled with noise.  It’s all around us and each day we are inundated with it from the moment we wake up and so at end of the day one can only recall a fraction of that information.

The same holds true for your audience.  No matter what your trying to convey; be it your brand, your product or generating leads you have to offer something that is memorable and easy to understand. 

Our brains can really only process so much information at any given time and so the data that can be processed faster than the rest will always take precedence to capturing one’s attention. 

Comment

Continue reading →