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You’ll learn so much from our guest today, including that civic association was built on volunteerism, that there are nearly forty thousand nonprofit technology organizations, and how important the makers of this space are. This episode connects a history of movement organizing with the world of information technology. We talk with Billy about his groundbreaking work navigating the local, ad-hoc, democratized, and unseen work of technology makers with the global need for infrastructure and support. Billy’s history uniquely positions him as a leader in bringing to light what it means to be in service to the impact economy with technology instead of being in service to technology as consumers. Along the way, we also talk about how polarization has crept into technology and the need for breaking down barriers to dialogue – which are frequently erected when technology is created to stimulate addition, gamification, and reward ever-divergent narratives.
OUR FEATURED GUEST
Billy Bicket, Principal, Nicely Goods
One study referenced in the conversation, #MoreThanCode, departs from the institutional-driven narrative and reframes the story about the community technology landscape from the perspective of the practitioners building and implementing technologies for the public good. There are at least two notable takeaways from the study that are worth highlighting:
Firstly, the field of community technology has grown significantly in the last few years. According to the study, the Nonprofit Tech, Open Data and Digital Privacy and Security category has more than 30,000 IRS-registered entities.
Secondly, the study brings an interdisciplinary and inclusive approach to who gets to contribute to developing new solutions alongside software developers working on behalf of civil society. Practitioners in this study suggest that in addition to software developers, teams include designers, product managers, project managers, program managers, and community managers, even if the involvement of this diverse group of professionals is rarely recognized.
You can read and download both the literature review and interview findings from TechSoup’s Maker Research findings here: