ELab grantees meet 311’s Design Challenges at Civic Hall

311 and the Parsons Entrepreneurial Lab at Civic Hall

311 and the Parsons Entrepreneurial Lab at Civic Hall

At Civic Hall, the new home for civic tech located on fifth avenue in Manhattan, 311 came together with the creative community members of Civic Hall to present their three design challenges in an intimate and informal ‘office hours’ setup. Among these members are Michael Varona, co-founder of Propeller, and Braden Crooks, cofounder of Designing The We, both recent graduates of the Parsons School of Design Strategies.

The discussions on Thursday 4/23/2015 delved deep into the whys and hows of this initiative, tapping into consumer needs and pain points to provide optimal solutions for the challenges. The information economy where data aggregation is at the center of tech conversations about privacy, user rights, and monetary value, implies transparency and accountability. With that, 311 seeks to provide its valuable immense data through an API in a complex governmental industry. For example, complaints about non-shoveled snow means accessing two different digital portals if the snow was on the street or the pavement, and that was one of the examples of 311’s complex and expansive digital ecosystem.

With the proposed challenges, the session ended with business cards being exchanged and a promise of more information to be provided in a second session on more details about this project. Civic tech, 311, and the intention of design thinking for user-centric strategy was an exciting combination that instilled drive and excitement and the ELab grantees are looking forward to the race.

Michael and Braden are grantees of the Parsons Entrepreneurial Lab and through this program have been granted working space at the Center for Social Innovation, leveraging their available technical infrastructure and provided network of entrepreneurs.

For more details about Propeller and Designing The We, check out their websites, and stay tuned to this project and other future ELab news.




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