Sunday, February 10, 2013
Fwd: [DW] Chicago - Civic User Testing Group
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Steven Clift
Date: Saturday, February 9, 2013
Subject: [DW] Chicago - Civic User Testing Group
Introducing the CUT Group: Get paid to test civic apps
by DANIEL X. O'NEIL on FEBRUARY 1, 2013 · in CIVIC INNOVATION IN CHICAGO
Today we're excited to launch the Civic User Testing Group, a set of
regular Chicago residents who get paid to test out civic apps.
If you live in Chicago, sign up today and get started.
Fill out a CUT Group profile and sign up to be a tester of civic apps,
and we'll send you a $5 VISA gift card
If and when you are chosen to test a civic app, you get paid a $20
VISA gift card and bus fare
Here's how we explain the program:
There is a large and growing community of "civic hackers" in Chicago —
technology developers who make websites, mobile apps, and other tools
that often have specific use in Chicago. The goal is to make software
that helps make lives better in the city.
The problem is that lots of civic apps get attention among a smallish
group of other developers and people interested in the world of open
data, but do not get wide acceptance by the people they were made for
— regular residents of the city of Chicago.
You are going to change all that!
We need people from all over the city, using all sorts of devices,
browsers and operating systems.
One of the reasons I'm excited about in this project is it is the
first launch with my colleague Chris Gansen, who is working with us as
a program manager. He last served as an engineer for Obama for
America, where he was responsible for their Dashboard tool, which
helped get hundreds of thousands of people involved in the election
process. We're privileged to have him focused on our work here in
I recently wrote a post, Turning Civic Hacking Into Civic Innovation,
where I laid out the immense assets that are available in this city to
support this work, and identified a gap:
What's currently missing? The people.
All of this is great. Two important components for civic innovation,
government and developers, are here in force in Chicago. But dozens of
developers looking at each other in conference rooms over pizza is
never going to lead to making lives better in Chicago without the
active involvement of real residents expressing real needs and
advocating for software that makes sense to them. The good thing is
that Chicago has assets in this area as well.
We think this is a great step in establishing sustained, meaningful
collaboration with residents around the data and technology. CUT Group
is a lightweight way to get people involved. The hope is once everyone
is involved in this world, we'll find new ways to innovate that we
can't possibly conceive at this time.
* * *
Here's some coverage of the CUT Group out in the wild:
Civic Hackers Want You: Group Offers Cash for App Testing
But Daniel X. O'Neil, co-founder of EveryBlock and executive director
of the Smart Chicago Collaborative, says the current relationship
between government agencies and coders is incomplete.
"[D]ozens of developers looking at each other in conference rooms over
pizza is never going to lead to making lives better in Chicago without
the active involvement of real residents expressing real needs and
advocating for software that makes sense to them," O'Neil wrote on his
blog last month.
That's why Smart Chicago is launching a "Civic User Testing Group," to
involve citizens from all over the city in testing, and eventually
conceptualizing, new apps and tools. Participants will become the beta
testers for developers looking for feedback on their latest work.
Testers will both submit feedback through the group's site and be a
part of "mildly scientific" focus groups through the city, O'Neil
Steven Clift - http://stevenclift.com
Executive Director - http://E-Democracy.org
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