Author Archives: Cody Switzer
June 21, 2012, 1:14 pm
Programmers in San Francisco and Berlin got together recently to attempt to build a system that would allow immigrants to tell their families they’ve arrived safely at their destination without anyone else finding out.
In Nairobi, a similar group worked on a system to report election results in real time, including incidents of election violence and accusations of voter fraud.
In Toronto, others worked on a system that could allow Nepali women to send ultrasound pictures via mobile devices.
All of them were volunteers, willing to lend their technological expertise to nonprofits and causes.
These projects and others were part of the “Random Hacks of Kindness” weekend, a twice-yearly, 36-hour work session for designers, programmers, and technology experts to solve problems facing nonprofits and other organizations interested in doing good. The most recent events, held this…
March 10, 2012, 1:56 pm
Open-source technology thrives by letting anybody know how it works and encouraging them to come up with new ideas and to tailor software to their own needs.
Could your nonprofit work the same way?
Any organization can, said Rebecca Suehle, a writer and editor at the open-source software company Red Hat, in a session Saturday at the South by Southwest Interactive conference.
“Just be open, that’s the lesson here, but it sounds scary,” she said, because many organizations are built to keep their work to themselves and out of the hands of competitors.
Nonprofits, though, may be the most qualified type of institution to adopt an open business style.
The principles of open business are community, transparency, meritocracy, rapid prototyping, and sharing, similar to the ideas that guide many nonprofits already.
Ms. Suehle said organizations that want to be more open should…