[platform-coop-dev-kit] Organizing a community hackathon

Li, Cheryl cheryl.li at ocadu.ca
Tue Oct 29 15:38:17 UTC 2019

Hi Danny,

Thanks for your comments! Let’s talk tomorrow 10:30 EDT?


From: Danny Spitzberg <stationaery at gmail.com>
Date: Tuesday, October 29, 2019 at 8:26 AM
To: "Li, Cheryl" <cheryl.li at ocadu.ca>, "Zimmerman, Ned" <nzimmerman at ocadu.ca>
Cc: Platform Coop Dev Kit <platform-coop-development-kit at lists.inclusivedesign.ca>
Subject: Re: Organizing a community hackathon

Hi, Cheryl & Ned!

Thank you for your thoughtful feedback.

Here's a summary of the items I highlighted for our next chat:
* How to effectively facilitate a JBTD or empathy map exercise across all groups
* How we might use a comparative journey map, and for what outcomes
* How the cards might be of use in the session, or beyond it
* How this session wraps up in a satisfying way for all : )
* How this session might support the conference at-large; the potluck session; and, the process going forward around this index/directory project.

As for chatting again, I'm available tomorrow, Wednesday, 10:30am--2:30pm Eastern. What times do you see open?

More responses in-line, below : )

On Fri, Oct 25, 2019 at 12:00 PM Li, Cheryl <cheryl.li at ocadu.ca<mailto:cheryl.li at ocadu.ca>> wrote:
Hi Danny,

Thanks for sharing your Coop-a-thon work in progress plan with Ned and I on Wednesday. Since it seems like you’re still in the early stages of planning, we thought about your plan some more and wanted to share some additional feedback.

Activity: Clarifying situations and needs for each stakeholder groups

Writing / editing scenarios

  *   Just to clarify, is this activity done in groups of the same stakeholders (ex. All the co-op member owners are sitting together),
Yes! That's the idea- one scenario for each group of stakeholders (plus a facilitator) to work through, together.

  *   or diverse stakeholders? If the former, then you can ignore this piece of feedback.

     *   Based on my understanding, each group will be editing 1 scenario that is representative of the experience of 1 stakeholder group (ex. Just co-op member owners, or just researchers). The task here is to ask everyone to edit the scenario so it’s reflective of their own experience.
     *   If my understanding is correct, then I wonder how fruitful it might be to get people to edit a scenario they can’t relate to. While I think having a diverse stakeholder group is wonderful for generating ideas that take into account diverse perspectives, it may not be as effective for editing down a particular scenario that some people may or may not be able to relate to. I think having people who can evaluate the given scenario through their own lived experience would be more effective.

Mapping activity

  *   Since the IDRC mapping activity was specifically designed to find the gaps between existing digital products and user needs, I don’t think it can be easily contextualized for the purposes of this activity. Since the purpose of this activity seems like it’s for diving deeper in user needs and scenarios of use, then perhaps a simple writing exercise for alternative scenarios, or using a framework like Jobs to be Done (https://medium.com/make-us-proud/jobs-to-be-done-framework-748c761797a8), or even an empathy map (https://www.solutionsiq.com/resource/blog-post/what-is-an-empathy-map/) could be more appropriate.

Excellent suggestion. I believe a JTBD framework/ empathy map could help each group parse the scenario into situational needs. I've used these approaches before, but not with first-timers!

So, I could use your support talking and walking through how to structure the setup and prompts for people in each group to complete this exercise.

Activity: Role playing with indexing

  *   I think this role playing exercise is wonderful! It seems to me the outcomes of this activity would be an enhanced understanding of the information architecture of the directory / index: what people want to filter things by to find what they need. I think this would be great if we could ask people to stand in the shoes of the scenario they just identified, as they act this out.
Yes! This role play is meant to get people in each group more in touch with their situation and motivation as stakeholders.

  *   For the template card and diagram with the content flow, I’m not sure I’m understanding the role of it in order to provide any feedback on it. You may have to contextualize it for better understanding.

The idea behind the card is to help people document the Q&A in their role play -- collecting real data, in real time!

The exact format of the card is something I'm working out today with a pal who does data standards work with other mutual aid and disaster relief projects. If this exercise works out and the card helps, it might work for the conference at large. Imagine lots and lots of cards made available for people to fill in with information they come across! That could be the start of whatever index/directory comes to life. At the very least, it would give people at the conference a way to learn about and consciously, intentionally connect with the effort.

However, I can also imagine this particular exercise without the card. Maybe it can play a role some other way

Possible alternative / additional activity:

  *   I think the role playing game would get at specific IA filters and labels, but the outcomes of this activity assumes the solution is a pretty cut-and-dry directory with a map and people on it, data associated with it. I think if we want to be more blue-sky and creative, we can come up with another activity that doesn’t assume the end outcome in such a tangible way.
  *   For example, a journey mapping exercise of the scenario identified in activity 1, mapped twice - once current state (without a directory), and once more with the ideal state (with a dream directory), and then “how might we” statements spinning off of that - could lead to more wild ideas that can challenge what we have in our minds as a conventional “directory”, and allow for more creative and flexible outcomes.

  *   If we do add a more generative activity such as this suggestion in there, then I think it could go before the role playing and would lead nicely into that.
I've tried hard to open our imagination in this session -- more indexing, less index! -- so this approach feels promising! What's more exciting is, I've been experimenting with 'comparative journey maps' this past year.

However, I am having trouble imagining how this gets us to outcomes. I would love to walk and talk through that with you when we reconnect.

Activity: Reframing the problem
I curious of what you have in mind here. I think that through doing the activities above, we’ve already reframed the problem through renewed scenarios of use. I also think there’s something nice in the multiplicity of problems that can emerge, as this is a very diverse community - I don’t see a need to narrow it down to one problem.

I think you're right about this, that by the end we'll have a healthy understanding of the situations and motivations facing each stakeholder group.

Honestly, what I think this session really needs is a satisfying conclusion. At a base level, I want everyone to leave with something they personally find valuable -- the stakeholders can feel seen and make meaningful connections, I can report something useful to the conference attendees, and for we can carry this project forward. But at a higher level, I want to bring the session to a close in a way that helps resolve the conflict -- designing a map/index is hard, but less hard if we do mapping/indexing ourselves.

We hope this feedback helps and gives you some more things to think about. Looking forward to giving further feedback on your next iteration of the plan. We can discuss your agenda item during our next feedback session as well. We’re not available Monday, but can try for Tuesday or Wednesday.

Yes, this has been helpful -- I hope we can make this session helpful for your process, too!

Cheryl & Ned


From: Danny Spitzberg <stationaery at gmail.com<mailto:stationaery at gmail.com>>
Date: Friday, October 25, 2019 at 11:48 AM
To: "Li, Cheryl" <cheryl.li at ocadu.ca<mailto:cheryl.li at ocadu.ca>>
Cc: "Clark, Colin" <cclark at ocadu.ca<mailto:cclark at ocadu.ca>>, "Zimmerman, Ned" <nzimmerman at ocadu.ca<mailto:nzimmerman at ocadu.ca>>
Subject: Re: Organizing a community hackathon

Hi, friends- thank you again for the chat the other day. I'm making progress with the various sections in the session, and working mainly on including stakeholders in developing key scenarios like we discussed. I'm keen to follow up on the follow-through from the conference, as well as how the potluck session and the coopathon might complement one another. Can I request a time to chat with you all next Monday or Tuesday? Let me know your availability, and I'll make it work for me!


On Tue, Oct 22, 2019 at 1:14 PM Danny Spitzberg <stationaery at gmail.com<mailto:stationaery at gmail.com>> wrote:
Either works for me! I also think we can cover most of what we need to in 45min, but I'm also grateful to have the full hour to explore more of the context for this session and what comes after it, too.

On Tue, Oct 22, 2019 at 1:08 PM Li, Cheryl <cheryl.li at ocadu.ca<mailto:cheryl.li at ocadu.ca>> wrote:
Unfortunately we don’t have a full zoom license here so I sent you a google calendar invite with a hangouts link from an account called fluid team schedule.
Let me know if that works!


From: Danny Spitzberg <stationaery at gmail.com<mailto:stationaery at gmail.com>>
Date: Tuesday, October 22, 2019 at 4:06 PM
To: "Li, Cheryl" <cheryl.li at ocadu.ca<mailto:cheryl.li at ocadu.ca>>
Cc: "Clark, Colin" <cclark at ocadu.ca<mailto:cclark at ocadu.ca>>, "Zimmerman, Ned" <nzimmerman at ocadu.ca<mailto:nzimmerman at ocadu.ca>>
Subject: Re: Organizing a community hackathon

Perfect! Please send a Zoom link and we'll connect then : )

On Tue, Oct 22, 2019 at 12:47 PM Li, Cheryl <cheryl.li at ocadu.ca<mailto:cheryl.li at ocadu.ca>> wrote:
How’s tomorrow (Wednesday) at 4:30 EDT?

From: Danny Spitzberg <stationaery at gmail.com<mailto:stationaery at gmail.com>>
Date: Tuesday, October 22, 2019 at 3:42 PM
To: "Li, Cheryl" <cheryl.li at ocadu.ca<mailto:cheryl.li at ocadu.ca>>
Cc: "Clark, Colin" <cclark at ocadu.ca<mailto:cclark at ocadu.ca>>, "Zimmerman, Ned" <nzimmerman at ocadu.ca<mailto:nzimmerman at ocadu.ca>>
Subject: Re: Organizing a community hackathon

Hi, Cheryl~

I think late Monday or Tuesday could work!

And just in case we can play this forward and save a week, any chance today or tomorrow might work?

On Tue, Oct 22, 2019 at 12:18 PM Li, Cheryl <cheryl.li at ocadu.ca<mailto:cheryl.li at ocadu.ca>> wrote:
Hi Danny,

Thanks for putting this outline together. Ned is out this Thursday and Friday, could we meet next Monday or Tuesday instead?
We’re available:

  *   Monday after 2pm EST
  *   Tuesday after 12:30 EST


From: Danny Spitzberg <stationaery at gmail.com<mailto:stationaery at gmail.com>>
Date: Tuesday, October 22, 2019 at 2:55 PM
To: "Clark, Colin" <cclark at ocadu.ca<mailto:cclark at ocadu.ca>>, "Li, Cheryl" <cheryl.li at ocadu.ca<mailto:cheryl.li at ocadu.ca>>
Cc: "Zimmerman, Ned" <nzimmerman at ocadu.ca<mailto:nzimmerman at ocadu.ca>>
Subject: Re: Organizing a community hackathon

Hi, Ned!

Thank you again for talking with me last week about your life & times with IDRC and before : )! As promised, I've been building on our discussion about IDRC's needs and the purpose for this coopathon as "reframing the problem"

Now, I've got a draft of the format and flow for the coopathon -- check it the three-page outline here<https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Me74pAwcd941swmxnGa1iQItruPjYz7RmqpgGnVKml0/edit?usp=sharing>. To move forward, I want to sync up with you to learn about your process and needs and make sure this session can deliver and support it.

Ned, and maybe Cherly, can we walk and talk through the coopathon for 30-45min some time this week? I'm available any time on Thursday or Friday


PS Many thanks to you, Ned, for helping me get this rolling, to you, Cheryl, for this session at Strive<https://medium.com/uxrblog/meet-up-notes-who-is-at-the-table-d5441c58bf67> which helped me organize things, and to you, Colin, for helping put this mapping exercise<https://guide.inclusivedesign.ca/activities/InclusiveDesignMapping.html> in a shareable format.

On Tue, Oct 15, 2019 at 11:51 AM Danny Spitzberg <stationaery at gmail.com<mailto:stationaery at gmail.com>> wrote:
Hi, Ned - and Cheryl and Colin!

Ned, I'm looking forward to chatting with you in a bit. To get a view of what I've done so far for the index co-design effort, see this post<https://platform.coop/events/conference-2019/coopathon/> - we can talk a bit about it and general expectations in our call.

Also, Cheryl, I see that you and Ned are co-hosting a potluck<https://platform.coop/events/conference-2019/co-design-potluck-designing-tech-together/>! That's rad! I hope to be able to RSVP for that, too ^__^

Warmly from earthquake land,

PS I saw this inclusive design playlist<https://twitter.com/id24conf/status/1182051167364435975> today and thought you and the IDRC crew might find something worth noting

On Wed, Sep 25, 2019 at 8:15 PM Clark, Colin <cclark at ocadu.ca<mailto:cclark at ocadu.ca>> wrote:
Hi Danny,

We’ve recently been doing some more planning about the conference and also had a conversation with Trebor last week.

Ned Zimmerman, one of our developers on the project, will be able to attend the Coopathon. Ned’s great, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the opportunity to meet and talk at the event.

I think Trebor will represent the concept of the map/index at the Coopathon, since he’s the most invested in it and has thought the most about its prospective features. Ned, on the other hand, would like to attend as a participant. Of course he can help explain the technology to anyone who’s interested in hacking on features for Trebor’s website—but I’m sure he’ll also be happy to collaborate with other participants on what they’re most passionate about.

I hope this helps,


Colin Clark
Associate Director
Inclusive Design Research Centre, OCAD University

On Sep 12, 2019, at 8:28 AM, Danny Spitzberg <stationaery at gmail.com<mailto:stationaery at gmail.com>> wrote:

Hi, Colin and friends-

First of all, I love the phrase, "spiky prototypes" : )

I'll be talking to Trebor and Michael again on Friday, and I want to do right by the broader project I know you've been trying to steward!

First, a quick aside: I should clarify what I mean by hackathon- all of the past gatherings (especially the DiscoTech) have been focused discussions among self-organizing peer groups, with talks and other activities to bookend the gathering, a healthy amount of meet & greet, skill-building in workshops, and some report-outs at the end with questions about what to pursue next. I believe in events that are kind, caring, collective, interactive, and lasting.

Now, to dig in: I also believe the map/index does has become a bit of an obsession for Trebor. He mentioned that it's vital for getting more funding, and if I understood Trebor correctly, this involve actually articulating what a #platformcoop is and finding any examples that fit. It's not without some concerns about the concept being fitted too narrow or predetermined in a way that loses sight of community stakeholder interest or need. At the same time, I can see a version of it that might materially benefit various cooperative projects and platforms, which is why I'm getting involved -- and which is why I am reaching out to you!

So, open more and better outcomes in helping organize this gathering, I'd love to know: What is IDRC expected to deliver regarding the map/index concept? And, how does it tie into your overall duties?

Please email me back or give me a call before I talk with Trebor on Friday : )


On Tue, Sep 10, 2019 at 8:05 PM Clark, Colin <cclark at ocadu.ca<mailto:cclark at ocadu.ca>> wrote:
Hi Danny,

I’m not certain yet whether we’ll be able to be involved this year in a hackathon at the Platform Coopeartive conference. Admittedly, hackathons aren’t entirely our thing, and we are hoping for a different kind of engagement with the community, which we are still exploring. But you should definitely go ahead with the hackathon; they can be a nice way to build up some community engagement and generate some spiky prototypes. It sounds like previous years have been a lot of fun.

The map/index for the Platform Cooperative Consortium website is primarily Trebor’s obsession right now, so I’m thinking he and Michael are in a good position to provide some challenges, ideas, and user stories for people at the hackathon to work through. I think he also has someone at the New School who he wants to engage in this, so perhaps the hackathon is a good opportunity for them. We are happy to post some of our ideas and sketches as material for participants to explore, and of course the source code for the PCC site is openly licensed and up on Github for people to fork and extend.


Colin Clark
Associate Director
Inclusive Design Research Centre, OCAD University

On Sep 9, 2019, at 2:52 PM, Danny Spitzberg <stationaery at gmail.com<mailto:stationaery at gmail.com>> wrote:

Dear Dana, Cheryl, and Colin-

It’s been a minute! Greetings from New Orleans, where I'm currently wrapping up a conference for the Society for the Social Studies of Science : )

I want to reach out because last week, I talked with Trebor and Michael about organizing a hackathon, particularly one that helps serve the community as well as IDRC's duties. He mentioned seeking your involvement and approval, and I want to get in sync with you explore the possibilities.

At the end of our chat, Trebor emphasized his interest in the map/index -- something he needs to show funders -- and he said that the learning commons is already far along such that it might be less useful to have a collaborative group focus on it. I've done a half-dozen of these gatherings over the years, from the Co-op DiscoTech in 2016<https://medium.com/@daspitzberg/the-very-first-oakland-co-op-discotech-a1d7b471562>, to a #platformcoop afterparty in NYC<https://www.eventbrite.com/e/platform-coop-2017-technology-afterparty-tickets-38513502924> and a coopathon in Hong Kong<https://twitter.com/CoLabCoOp/status/1045265217867767808>, to the User, Worker, Owner! events a few months ago in 2019<https://docs.google.com/document/d/1eU7QKI1ODahs9Q6Og5c3dhyXdy26WSCqQg5rV1WSRvk/edit> -- this time with a collective of 12 people who helped make it happen.

My understanding is that, since Trebor is asking me to facilitate the upcoming hackathon event on Nov. 7, the day before the event kicks off, I can help IDRC advocate for and accomplish what it needs.

So, let's figure out how this kind of gathering can serve BOTH the community and IDRC!

Please email me back with your through, or suggest a couple times we can chat for 10-15min this week : ]


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