HackMKE brought Milwaukee's ideas and energy together

Red Arrow partnered with the Milwaukee Data Initiative and 88.9 Radio Milwaukee to support HackMKE, and it was a blast!

HackMKE is part of Code for America’s National Day of Civic Hacking and takes place simultaneously in cities around the country. The event brought together citizens, software developers, and entrepreneurs to collaboratively create, build, and invent new solutions using publicly-released data, code and technology, to improve our communities through a ground-up approach. The event was held June 6th at 88.9 Radio Milwaukee, and Red Arrow assisted in its organization and volunteered as group leaders and technical experts to approximately 50 civic-minded volunteers from the local community. The entire group came together to critically think about the problems in the community and come up with technical solutions to address those problems. Oh yeah, and do that all in 8 hours.

Teams of three to seven were assembled based on areas of civic importance, such as Ecology, Community Health, Education, and Transportation. At least one Red Arrow volunteer joined each team to provide input, technical guidance, and help translate ideas into an actionable roadmap. Each group was able to find solutions to the challenges they were working on, most coming in the form of a plan for building a piece of technology. Others were able to framework and build small, but functional features of a larger software solution. In all cases, the objective of working together to complete an iteration of the solution was accomplished.

Some project examples included:

  • Putting together a program which would pair professional volunteers with elementary school children with the goal of increasing literacy and reading comprehension.
  • Developing a responsive website that aggregated free clinic information in Milwaukee and made it filterable by distance, income requirements and type of service needed to help low-income assistance program recipients find participating clinics in their area. (Red Arrow volunteers delivered a working prototype and demoed it).
  • Creating a site where people could view the aggregate data about schools and make informed decisions about how to improve their school/what school to send their child.
  • Organizing a campaign to improve public transportation through technical and architectural modernization and innovation.

It was a mentally exhilarating day as ideas were sparked, conversation and creativity started, and everyone contributed their experience to the beginnings of solutions.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the day!